First Book Awards More Than $2.4 Million Across 24 States

First Book Awards More Than $2.4 million for New Books and eBooks to Schools and Programs Serving Kids in Need Across 24 States  

Awards mark the final distribution of $4.7 million in funding across a total of 33 states and territories

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2019) — First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education, today announced it has awarded more than $2.4 million for new books and eBooks to schools and organizations serving kids in need across 24 states. The awards mark final funding disbursements of First Book’s OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation program, an initiative that has awarded more than $4.7 million in funding to schools and programs to distribute an estimated 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities in 33 states and territories. The total value of books to be distributed through the OMG Books Awards program is estimated at more than $12 million.

First Book was selected by the respective 33 Attorneys General to distribute the funds in the eligible states and territories, which can only be used to purchase books and eBooks in those states, implementing a court settlement unrelated to First Book. In total, First Book has awarded funding to more 70 organizations for single and multi-state initiatives.

“We never cease to be truly devastated by the profound depth of need present in the classrooms and programs we serve, or to be humbled by the dedication of the educators who are doing everything they can to give their kids everything they need to learn,” said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and cofounder of First Book. “That dedication is what will make a difference for so many of our kids, and it will make a significant difference for all of us when those kids become adults. The OMG Books Awards program is allowing us to fuel that dedication, and break down some of the barriers that stand between kids in need and a quality education.” 

Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational success in the United States, yet low-income communities across the U.S. are plagued by vast ‘book deserts’—with one such community having only a single book per 830 children.1 Additionally, 90 percent of First Book member educators responding to a survey agreed that the children in their programs would be more enthusiastic readers if they had access to books with characters, stories, and images that reflect their lives and their neighborhoods. 

Awardees will receive the funds in the form of credits to use on the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.com), First Book’s award-winning eCommerce platform that offers thousands of new, contemporary, curated books at low or no cost to educators serving kids in need. 

Select List of OMG Books Major Awards in Final Distribution Cycle

Delaware

  • Delaware Readiness Teams: Rodel Kindergarten Readiness
  • The Summer Learning Collaborative, Inc.: Summer Literacy Intervention

District of Columbia

  • Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Welcoming Schools Jazz & Friends Readings

Louisiana

  • Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana: Early Childhood Literacy
  • United Way of Southeast Louisiana: New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Maryland

  • Baltimore City Public Schools: Baltimore City Judy Center Partnership, Read Across Baltimore

Massachusetts

  • Springfield Public Schools: Books for Kindergarten Joy
  • Lowell Public Schools: Our Students Love to Read!

New Mexico

  • The Reading Group/Opportunity Santa Fe
  • Roswell Independent School District

New York

  • NYSUT: New York State United Teachers Early Educator Outreach
  • The Fresh Air Fund: Summer Book Initiative
  • Clinton Foundation: Talking is Teaching: NY State Talks, Reads & Sings

Ohio

  • Ohio Department of Education: Books for Early Literacy
  • Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank: Creating Readers Throughout NE Ohio!
  • Foundation for Appalachian Ohio: OMG Appalachia!

Pennsylvania

  • Reading is Fundamental, Pittsburgh

Puerto Rico

  • Flamboyan Foundation: Yo amo leer Book Bundles Initiative

Texas

  • Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation: Book Distribution
  • United Ways of Texas: Statewide Partnerships Driving Student Success
  • Paul Church Texas: Advocates for Lifelong Literacy, Fall into a Good Book!

Vermont

  • Fletcher Free Library: Friends of Fletcher Free Library, Early Literacy Outreach

West Virginia

  • Read Aloud West Virginia: Reaching Out to Raise Lifelong Readers

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs

Virginia

  • Reach Out and Read Virginia

Multi-state programs

  • Center for Autism and Related Disorders
  • AFT: Supporting New Teachers
  • Pajama Program: Books and Bedtime
  • Urban Librarians Unite, Urban Librarians Unite & REFORMA, Children in Crisis
  • National Council for Teachers of English

About OMG Books Awards 
OMG Books Awardees are selected from eligible applicants in 33 states and territories, implementing a court settlement unrelated to First Book that awards funds to obtain books and eBooks through the First Book Marketplace.

Eligible states and territories included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

About First Book 
Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its 27-year history, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources, with a value of more than $1.5 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 450,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books.

For more information, visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/omgbooks. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter

Media contact:
Melanie Boyer 
202-639-0114 
mboyer@firstbook.org