Project Literacy Receives 2024 Ashby Award

January 30, 2024

DRF is pleased to announce Project Literacy has been selected to receive the 2024 B.R. Ashby, M.D. Award for Outstanding Community Service.

This award, in the amount of a $60,000 general operating grant, honors outstanding community service in the region by a nonprofit organization based on success in helping families and individuals overcome significant challenges. 

“For over 40 years, Project Literacy has offered one-on-one tutoring for adults in our community – at absolutely no cost,” said Clark Casteel, President and CEO of Danville Regional Foundation. “Their network of volunteer tutors invests their time and expertise to help their clients become better readers so that they can better understand medical materials, employment forms, community signage and more. DRF is pleased to award the 2024 B.R. Ashby, M.D. Award for Outstanding Community Service to Project Literacy.”

Project Literacy offers free confidential tutoring to individual adult clients who wish to become better in reading, writing, math, technology, English speaking and writing. In the past two years, they have assisted clients to ready themselves for GED programs and to achieve proficiency in writing for college entrance examinations. This tutoring aims to help learners be proficient, confident and enthusiastic about learning.

“We at Project Literacy are honored to receive the Ashby Award,” said Todd Helms, executive director. “We’ve often been called the best kept secret in Danville, but no more!”

In addition to tutoring, through a partnership with the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Project Literacy has been able to offer Book Buds Book Clubs at the Southside Community Learning Center at Cardinal Village and at Cedar Terrace. These clubs are designed for those that can read but would like to better understand what they are reading.

“We will use the Ashby Award funds to support the general operating expenses of our program so that we can expand our services further into Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina,” said Helms. “We also plan to increase promotion of our services because we believe that every person, no matter their age, income or background, should be able to read and comprehend the materials they are required to complete in everyday life.”

To learn more about Project Literacy, visit their website at