The Issue: Children with Limited Access to Books
In 2009, about 42% of children in the United States—more than 30 million children—lived in low-income households, according to data from the National Center for Children in Poverty. Due to limited resources, many of these children have little access to age-appropriate books at home or at school. Without the proper materials, their chances of improving their reading skills are greatly reduced. Yet even a few books at home can have a positive effect on educational attainment, according to a report from the Journalism Center on Children & Families.
The Campaign: Distributing Books to Underserved Children
For every $10 raised by this Grassroots campaign, First Book can distribute eight new books to a child from a low-income family, thanks to matching donations from Disney Publishing. Donations will be matched in-kind up to a total of one million books. Children from low-income families in First Book's network of 35,000 schools and programs across the country will receive new, high-quality books, including classic and contemporary works.
All donations will be matched in-kind up to a total of one million books by Disney Publishing.
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When she was a tutor to children from low-income families in Washington, DC, Kyle Zimmer was amazed by how excited students would get whenever given their own books. As she relayed in a 2011 New York Times story, this work inspired Zimmer to start First Book, an organization dedicated to making reading materials accessible to children in need.
Today, nearly 20 years after Zimmer's eureka moment, First Book works toward this goal through two channels: the First Book Marketplace, an online store with quality books—including Caldecott and Newbery award-winners—available at up to 90% below the retail price, and the First Book National Book Bank, a clearinghouse for publishers’ excess inventory. To date, the organization has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to 50,000 schools and programs throughout the United States and Canada—with more added each month.
The impact has been inspiring. An internal study found that 70% of children reported reading more at home after receiving books from First Book. In recognition of this and other accomplishments, the organization has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2005 Nonprofit Innovation Award and a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
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