Sept. 29, 2020 (WASHINGTON) – Artie Starrs, the Chief Executive Officer of Pizza Hut, has joined the board of directors of Washington, D.C.-based First Book, a national nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education. First Book and Pizza Hut have worked together for the past four years through Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, a platform dedicated to tackling illiteracy. Through the initiative, Pizza Hut has a goal to impact 100 million lives over ten years by enabling access to books and educational resources, empowering teachers and inspiring readers. In response to educator requests, over the last year Pizza Hut and First Book worked together with leading anti-bias and antiracism experts to create a series of Empowering Educators resources, launched this summer, to help educators engage in effective and courageous conversations about race and social justice.
“During our work together, I have been enormously impressed with First Book’s strategic approach and commitment to ensure that children growing up in less affluent communities have access to the same high quality educational resources and opportunities as their more affluent peers,” said Starrs. “When I think of what is going to make the most difference for our children’s futures, literacy and education are among the most powerful investments we can make. What makes First Book even more impactful is that its innovative and comprehensive models not only support educators and the children they serve, but also provide insights for all those working with children and families in poverty.”
In his role as Chief Executive Officer of Pizza Hut, Starrs is responsible for driving the company’s global growth strategies, franchise operations and performance. Prior to this, he served as President of Pizza Hut U.S. with responsibility for the company’s overall strategic vision and planning, including all aspects of the business, culture and people capability. Starrs has an A.B. degree in Economics from Princeton University and resides in Dallas with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Margaret and Arthur – all of whom are avid readers.
“Throughout First Book’s work with Pizza Hut, Artie has been directly engaged with us, both to champion the importance of literacy, and to contribute as a thought partner to really understand and address the challenges facing educators and the kids they serve,” said Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett, First Book’s acting board chairman. “Artie is a vocal corporate leader who believes in the value of businesses contributing in meaningful ways to the health and well-being of communities, and we look forward to working with Artie as a fellow board member.”
About First Book
Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its nearly 30-year history, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of more than $2.0 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 475,000 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.