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.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand to projects big and small at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
Invisalign straightens crooked chompers through a combination of highly advanced, 3-D computer graphics and the spells of good old-fashioned orthodontia. Three different practices feature orthodontists specially trained and certified in the Invisalign process, which eschews cumbersome braces for clear, removable aligners that are virtually invisible to the unclothed eye. An initial exam, including x-rays, photos, and impressions of your mouth terrain ($325), will pave the way for a flurry of calibrated teeth sheaths that are designed to slowly shift your walnut crackers into perfect alignment. The total cost of an Invisalign treatment varies with each customer (it can run anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000); this Groupon gets you $1,000 to put toward that final cost. View some Invisalign FAQs here.
Project DC Events organizes jubilant bar crawls such as The DC Santa Crawl Bright and Pint, Pink and Drink, Cupid's Bar Crawl, The Shamrock Crawl, All American Bar Crawl, and Clarendon Halloween Crawl which allow visitors to enjoy drink specials at a wide range of Dupont Circle drinking spots. In addition to discounts on drinks, events often include complimentary party favors, pictures, and prizes.
Potomac Riverkeeper, a chapter of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, works to keep the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers clear of pollution to protect marine life and ensure clean drinking water for more than five million people. To this end, it harnesses the help of more than 400 local volunteers. When these Riverwatchers see pollution, they report it to Potomac Riverkeeper via phone or email, enabling the organization to seek out the origin of the pollution and halt its spread. In addition to these reactive steps, Potomac Riverkeeper strives for a cleaner environment through the Clean Water Enforcement Program, which takes legal action against larger polluters, and the Green Farms, Clean Rivers Project, which works with farmers to prevent pesticides and animal waste from entering streams.
Miriam's Kitchen’s nourishing meals are the organization’s cornerstone service, welcoming 250–350 men and women each weekday with nutritious breakfasts and dinners. Menus feature whole grains, fresh meats, and local and organic fruits and vegetables. An average morning may open with scrambled eggs with salmon, roasted home fries, warm biscuits, and fresh-fruit salad. Evening guests dine on well-balanced fare such as pasta in marinara sauce, sautéed broccoli, garden salad, and whole-wheat rolls. Local farmers' markets and grocery stores donate much of the food, helping to keep costs to an average of $1 or less per meal. In 2010, the kitchen provided more than 75,000 meals.