The Issue: Lack of Access to Kids' Books in Low-Income Communities
Although family story-time is a cherished tradition in many households, a recent study found that in some low-income neighborhoods there's only 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. This lack of exposure to books at a young age can affect children later on. Other research has shown that kids who grow up with books in their homes are more likely to go further in their education than those who don't.
The Campaign: Providing Books to Underserved Children
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by First Book to provide age-appropriate books for children from low-income families across the country. For every $10 raised, the organization can purchase six brand-new books at a deep discount from publishers such as Disney Publishing Worldwide, Random House Children’s Books, Macmillan, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. First Book will then distribute the reading materials through its network of more than 50,000 schools and programs in local communities all across the country. You can choose which region of the country to benefit by selecting Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, or West when making your donation.
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.