United Way of Erie County was selected to receive an award of $12,687 for new books that will expand United Way’s mission to crush poverty by focusing on student success. First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need, awarded the funds as part of its OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation.
United Way plans to use the grant funds during Read Across America Week (March 2-6, 2020) where a book will be given to each child at five partnering community schools and also titles will be added to those school libraries. Schools selected to receive books include Diehl Elementary, Elk Valley Elementary, Iroquois Elementary, McKinley Elementary and Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary.
“With this award, we will be able to bring new, high-quality, contemporary books to the kids served at United Way’s community schools,” said Stephanie King, United Way director of education. “This will make a tangible difference as we work to spark a love of reading and enable the book access which is essential to learning.”
“We know that access to books and eBooks makes a significant difference in a child’s future success,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and cofounder. “Children do not thrive in deeply under-resourced environments and too many of the schools and programs have far too little. This deprivation has long-term consequences for the children, their families, their communities and our nation. This could not be more urgent. With the OMG Books Awards, First Book and United Way of Erie County are investing not only in the future of the kids we’re reaching, but in the overall wellbeing of our nation.”
Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational success in the United States.1 Research indicates that just the presence of books in the home improves educational outcomes, yet low-income communities across the U.S. are plagued by vast ‘book deserts’—with one community having only a single book per as many as 830 children.
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