Across the world, there are currently 114 million young people lacking literacy skills. Literacy is the pathway to a better quality of life. It has the power to improve health and diminish poverty for individuals, families and communities, and is fundamental to economic and social progress.

We want to help ensure global literacy levels continue to rise, partnering with organisations in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa to provide opportunities which allow young people to fall in love with reading and writing.


Open Grants: THE LITERACY FUND

The Literacy Fund is open for application. We invite proposals from organisations working or based in Sub-Saharan Africa, undertaking projects to increase literacy levels in young people. You may apply for a grant of up to £2,500 GBP.

We believe that the value of a storybook is equal to that of a textbook and seek applications that make a creative case to increase literacy levels. In line with our wider charitable objectives, we will prioritise proposals which use the broad nature of adventure writing to achieve their aims.

You can see what we define as adventure writing here. 

Deadline for submissions: 21st September 2017
Trustees decision: October 2017
Work to take place: November 2017 – November 2018

Please read the full guidelines, which include eligibility criteria, before contacting the Foundation with any enquiries.

To apply, please download and complete the application form and return to

submissions@wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org by 21st September 2017.



Case Study: Working with The FunDza Literacy Trust

In 2015, we supported The Funza Literacy Trust, a South Africa non-profit organisation dedicated to improving literacy amongst teens and young adults.

Wilbur and The FunDza Literacy Trust team with the new teen books, ready to be sent to local libraries

While in South Africa, Wilbur and Niso visited the FunDza office to finalise the donation which allowed FunDza to deliver 175 of its teen book titles to Langa and Nyanga libraries. These books aim to get young South Africans reading for pleasure.

“Thank you so much again. We are planning to start a Programme for Grade 6 students and this donation will became handy as we are in need of teen books.” 

- Sophie Mahuzie, Senior Librarian at Nyanga Library