Harry Stevens is a freelance reporter covering climate change, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and sustainable finance. Harry has contributed to several media outlets, including Justmeans, GreenBiz, SocialEarth, and Sustainablog. You can follow Harry on Twitter: @Harry_Stevens...
Domtar Gives Thousands of Books to Low-Income Children
A new corporate-nonprofit partnership will provide thousands of books to children in low-income families in an effort to promote literacy across the United States.
Domtar Corporation (NYSE:UFS), the Toronto based paper company, this week announced $25,000 in grants to ten schools and community programs located near the company's facilities across the U.S. Grant recipients will be able to purchase books in the First Book Marketplace, a website that provides children's books and education materials at prices 50-90% below retail.
The website is operated by First Book, a D.C.-based nonprofit that has distributed over 90 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada.
The United States enjoys a relatively high 99 percent literacy rate. Still, 14 percent of Americans have "no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills," according to the National Assessment of American Literacy. Only 13 percent of Americans are proficiently literate, meaning they "can perform complex and challenging literacy activities."
Early childhood literacy has been linked to increased economic and financial opportunities in adulthood, and having access to books is crucial to developing literacy early. According to a 2010 academic study, children who grow up with more books in their homes tend to attain higher levels of education than those who do not.
Unfortunately, children from low-income families have less exposure to books than other children. Middle-income American homes contain 13 books for every child, while low-income neighborhoods have 300 children for every book, according to First Book.
Founded in 1992, First Book now delivers over 35,000 books on average per day. A registered 501(c)(3), First Book reinvests 97% of its revenue in providing books for low-income children. First Book works with programs in which at least 70 percent of the participating children are from low-income families.
"We invest in projects like First Book that promote education and emphasize literacy as part of our company commitment to supporting the sustainable development of our communities," said John Williams, Domtar's President and CEO. "The fact that we are partnering with an organization like First Book means that the right books go to the right children in the right place."
Communities receiving grants from Domtar include Addison, Illinois; Ashdown, Arkansas; Owensboro, Kentucky; Plymouth, North Carolina; and Rock Hill, South Carolina. Domtar is also supplying 5,000 copies of the book Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children's Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green to the First Book Marketplace website.
"We're excited about this partnership with Domtar, and thrilled that they've stepped up to help children in need across the country get the books and resources they need to succeed," commented First Book President and CEO, Kyle Zimmer.
First Book has been successful at building relationships with other major North American corporations and brands. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) partners with First Book to provide books that are specifically focused on science, technology, engineering and math. KPMG, Target (NYSE:TGT), and Cheerios have each donated over 1 million books through First Book.
Image credit: Jonf728