With the support of our partners, First Book breaks down the main barrier between kids and academic achievement — access to books and resources.
In partnership with Molina Healthcare, First Book developed “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body,” a comprehensive effort to provide new, high quality resources focused on social and emotional development—an area identified by First Book’s membership of educators and program leaders as a top health education priority, out-ranking even substance abuse and gun violence.
The initiative included two age-appropriate collections of children’s books, curated by First Book; an expanded Health and Wellness section on the First Book Marketplace; and tip sheets developed in collaboration with Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The partnership also yielded bilingual public service announcements (English/Spanish)that were among the top one percent of PSAs aired in 2017.
More than 70 percent of First Book educators reach into their own pockets to outfit their classrooms with books and basic educational resources — and some are now starting over in the aftermath of natural disasters. In response, First Book partnered with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to launch the Essentials for Kids campaign, a fund focused solely on supporting educators serving kids in need, or recovering from a disaster. One hundred percent of funds raised through Essentials for Kids will go to educators and program providers in need.
The fund is demonstrative of First Book’s long-standing partnership with AFT: together, we have been able to provide classroom essentials to educators nationwide who may not have had them otherwise. And we know it makes a difference–nearly 80 percent of First Book educators reported that resources from First Book help them be the best educator they can be.
Working with first responders, the American Federation of Teachers and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, First Book and Penguin Random House delivered tens of thousands of books and resources to Houston less than a month after Hurricane Harvey. In total, Penguin Random House donated more 410,000 brand new books to First Book’s response efforts after the hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; a significant donation that will begin restoring entire libraries and book collections that so many educators lost.
Educators reported that books make a difference in the aftermath of a disaster, providing a sense of calm, order and routine, and contributing to a foundation for recovery.
Pizza Hut chose First Book as its partner to implement its new 10-year campaign, Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, an initiative focused on increasing access to reading, empowering teachers with greater resources and inspiring a lifelong love of reading. When friends, families and co-workers sit down to eat or order online from Pizza Hut they can add a donation to First Book that will provide book for children in need.
The funds raised from each Pizza Hut location go to local educators so they can purchase books and resources from the First Book Marketplace. The campaign combines worldwide reach with local community focus to generate the greatest impact.
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., a long-time investor in First Book, has been providing non-perishable food items on the First Book Marketplace since 2014. Within three weeks of the initial launch of the Food Direct initiative, 75 percent of the food items were sold out. Since then, First Book and C&S have distributed hundreds of thousands of servings of fruit cups, granola bars, raisins, and fruit snacks, among other items, to educators serving kids in need.
Hunger is consistently identified as a top barrier to learning by the First Book Network. Food Direct launched in direct response to requests from network educators for healthy snacks, and “Hunger in America’s Schools,” a report which revealed that on average, teachers spend $300 of their own money every year feeding their students. In partnership with C&S, First Book has been able to lower another barrier between kids in need and realizing their full potential.
First Book has partnered with the Nonprofit Finance Fund to provide the resources at critical moments in its growth trajectory, funding the 2007 launch and 2015 upgrade of the First Book Marketplace. Read more about First Book’s and NFF’s work together: