First Book

First Book Press Releases

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Launches New York Women's Vote Centennial Project With American Federation of Teachers and First Book

Partnership will provide 15 educators from across the New York state with resources to implement a project celebrating 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul today launched the New York Women's Vote Centennial Project, a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and First Book celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York on November 6, 2017. The competition invites teachers to develop classroom projects and activities to mark the suffrage centennial. The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission will select 15 winners from across the State. Women in New York secured the right to vote in 1917, three years before the 19th amendment granted that right to women across the United States. 

"New York is the proud birthplace of the women's suffrage movement, and this competition builds on our rich heritage and helps bring the lessons learned from Seneca Falls and beyond to future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "I look forward to seeing the creative projects our teachers and students come up with to celebrate this historic anniversary."

Lieutenant Governor Hochul, Chair of the New York Women's Suffrage Commission, said, "New York women have always led the nation when it comes to furthering women's rights, and there is no better way to educate our young people about that history than in the classroom. The Women's Vote Centennial Project will challenge educators to create and develop classroom activities that will help our young people understand the importance of equality for all people. The goal of the project is to educate our students about the past and encourage them to use that knowledge to help create the building blocks for our future."

Projects may focus on women's history, civic engagement, the democratic process, equal rights, or a related topic. Educators and students are encouraged to explore the question: 100 years from now, when future generations look back, what will our equal rights legacy be? Projects for any grade, K-12, will be considered.

Applications can be submitted at this link and are due by October 11, 2017. 

Members of the New York State Women's Suffrage Commission will review all applications and select 15 winners, one from each region of the state and the five boroughs of New York City. Each of the 15 winners will receive $500 in books and resources to implement the project. Educators from schools serving low-income students will be able to use those credits in the First Book Marketplace. Other schools will receive the materials directly from the Women's Suffrage Commission.

"Igniting young people's interest in civic engagement is vital to strengthening and defending our democracy and ensuring an economy that works for all," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "As Frederick Douglass said, 'Power never yields willingly,' and the activists and leaders of the suffrage movement knew that big-time. Understanding what it took for women to win the right to vote can instruct and inspire us right now, in this moment when we are fighting off threats to the right to vote, and the right to have a voice in our democracy and economy. By teaching about the suffrage movement, we can help empower young people to act."

New York State United Teachers Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango said, "New York -- through the union movement -- has been a national leader in advancing the women's rights movement. In this centennial year of New York recognizing a woman's right to vote, it is essential that we continue to educate young people on women's history, advocacy and the democratic process. We are proud to be part of this important program and thrilled to again be teaming with First Book. This partnership means that educators will have the books and resources they need to bring this program to life."

"Understanding the women's suffrage movement, and how far we've come, is the first step toward addressing how far we still have to go," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "It's powerful to read the stories of the amazing women who championed women's rights. My hope is that with partnerships like this one, young people—girls and boys—will be inspired to dedicate themselves to advancing the cause of equal justice for all."

The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, is organizing programs to commemorate women's suffrage between 2017, 100 years from when women won the right to vote in New York State, and 2020, which will be a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified. The Commission's programs celebrate the accomplishment of women's suffrage and the central role of New Yorkers and New York State in this milestone, while also helping shape the future to ensure a more just and equitable society for all. To learn more, visit www.ny.gov/suffrage.

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About AFT

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in North America exclusively serving kids in need.

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

Media Contacts:
Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Albany:  (518) 474-8418
New York City:  (212) 681-4640
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Melanie Boyer, First Book
(202) 639-0114
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Hot Dudes Reading Launches GoFundMe for Books in Hurricane-affected Areas

Redwood City, Calif. (September 18, 2017) — In response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, Hot Dudes Reading today launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to provide books to children in need across areas affected by the storms. Hot Dudes Reading, the Instagram account that celebrates book lovers across the United States, has partnered with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 170 million books and resources to kids in need—including a focused effort providing books to children affected by natural disasters.

“We are thrilled to team up with Hot Dudes Reading and GoFundMe to get books to children affected by the storms. First Book is working now to provide books to children and families in temporary shelters and other sites across the affected regions and will be providing books to schools, libraries, and other programs as they re-open their doors,” said Chandler Arnold, First Book’s chief operating officer. “First Book has already distributed more than 5 million new books affected by storms since Hurricane Katrina, and we know books mean so much to young people during challenging times—in addition to a new chance to learn, they also comforting stories at bedtime, the opportunity to visit faraway places through stories, and a welcome return to normalcy during what can be an uncertain time.”

Chronicle Books, Simon & Schuster, and other First Book publishing partners have donated 10,000 new books to this effort and 100 percent of funds donated will be used to get these books to kids in hurricane-affected areas. Every $10 donated will enable First Book to provide 18 new books to children affected by the storms (up to 10,000 books).

In addition to this campaign, GoFundMe has created a central location for all campaigns that have been created to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

To view the campaigns, click here:
For both storms, GoFundMe is working with state and local officials to ensure funds end up in the right place. GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety Team briefed officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida on the steps we take to protect donors and recipients, and we explained our guarantee that all of the funds raised on GoFundMe go to the right place. As mentioned above, 100 percent of funds raised by this campaign will be used by First Book to provide books to those affected by the storms. First Book is also included in Charity Navigator’s approved list of highly-rated organizations responding in the aftermath of the storm.

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About GoFundMe

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with over $4 billion raised so far. With a community of more than 40 million donors, GoFundMe is changing the way the world gives. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education — making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

Media contact:
Melanie Boyer, First Book
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202.639.0114

AFT, First Book and Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Partner to Provide Targeted Relief to Educators and Kids Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Initiative is part of newly-launched ‘Essentials for Kids’ nationwide effort to provide books, supplies, and basic needs items to help alleviate serious public school underfunding

WASHINGTON (September 6, 2017)—The American Federation of Teachers, First Book, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation today launched a targeted effort to deliver brand-new books and basic needs items, in coordination with first responders, educators, and volunteers, to areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The partners simultaneously announced the Essentials for Kids Fund, a national initiative aimed at addressing the need for books, educational resources, and basic needs items for educators and their students in districts where the public schools are severely underfunded.

The Essentials for Kids Fund is currently seeded with $200,000, including $75,000 from the AFT and $75,000 from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, with additional funding from Coca-Cola and individual donors. The AFT has set aside $25,000 of its contribution specifically for Harvey-affected educators, and 100 percent of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation's contribution will be designated to help rebuild classroom libraries and provide other resources for Houston-area educators affected by the hurricane. The fund is actively accepting donations, and has included an option for crowdfunding campaigns to support specific areas. Crowdfunding efforts are already underway by AFT affiliates in Baltimore; Toledo, Ohio; and Socorro, Texas; and by First Book supporters in Charlotte, N.C. The partners are also continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma and will be prepared to meet the needs of others affected by disaster.

“A union is a family, and we are doing what we can to help educators and students deal with the impact of Hurricane Harvey. That includes supporting them through the long process of rebuilding, and starts with restocking their schools and classrooms,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten. “We’re also stepping up to help educators across the country who dig into their own wallets to make sure their classrooms are stocked with basics and their students have a warm jacket, school supplies, food or even basic hygiene products like shampoo. The Essentials for Kids Fund offers direct help to educators serving kids in need, and 100 percent of the funds raised will go to providing educators what they need to teach and kids what they need to learn.”

With 35 states still spending less on public education than before the recession, educators spend an average of $600 a year of their own money to make up for inadequate public school funding to ensure their students have access to necessary learning materials.

“We can’t allow our teachers to have to beg for handouts or permit the staggering loss of potential that results when students don’t have what they need for learning,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and co-founder. “This fund will provide critical funding support for schools and programs serving children in need, as well as helping to replace books and supplies in areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey.”

“Opening schools for the hundreds of thousands of children affected by this disaster is vitally important for families to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives,” said Dr. Julie Baker Finck, president of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “It is imperative that our educators have the books and resources in their classrooms to support academic success and aid in the socio-emotional well-being of children following this catastrophic event.”

Educators can access the fund at various levels:
  • AFT members serving Title I or Title I-eligible schools or programs can receive grants of up to $150 to spend on the First Book Marketplace, which offers such items as brand-new high-quality books, hygiene kits, sports equipment, and clothing, at 50 to 90 percent below retail prices. Non-AFT educators can receive grants of up to $100. Grants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until the fund is depleted.
  • Educators affected by Harvey can receive up to $200 in First Book Marketplace credits until the fund is depleted.
All educators are eligible for funds if 70 percent or more of the kids they serve are from low-income communities or are affected by Hurricane Harvey. If not already members of the First Book network, educators must complete the free registration at firstbook.org/register. Donations to the fund and additional crowdsourced campaigns are being accepted at bit.ly/HurricaneHarveyEssentialsforKids and bit.ly/EssentialsForKids.

Educators have already sprung into action to help students and schools cope with the impact of Harvey. In Corpus Christi, Texas, union members recently delivered backpacks filled with folders, pens, pencils, scissors and other school supply essentials.

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About AFT

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in North America exclusively serving kids in need.

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

About the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, co-chaired by Neil and Maria Bush, was established as a charitable organization focused on improving the quality of life for Houston residents through the power of literacy. The Foundation advocates for literacy as a fundamental right of everyone and a foundational skill towards success in life. It is founded on the belief held by Former First Lady Barbara Bush, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.” In 2013, the Bush Family created the Houston-based foundation separate from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a national foundation, in response to the need to deepen the awareness of and intensify services and support for the nation’s fourth largest and most diverse city—Houston. To learn more about, please visit www.bushhoustonliteracy.org. To find volunteer opportunities please visit the Foundation’s volunteer platform at www.connect4literacy.org.

Media Contacts:

Marcus Mrowka, AFT
202-879-4733
Melanie Boyer, First Book
202-639-0114
Christine Garella, DPWPR
713-224-9115
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First Book and State of Delaware Coordinate Basic Needs Closets for Students in High-Needs Schools

Delaware partners with organizations, hospitals to stock closets in 45 Delaware schools 
 
BRIDGEVILLE, Del. (August 24, 2017) – Governor John Carney on Thursday announced an initiative to stock basic needs closets in 45 high-needs Delaware schools. The closets will receive supplies in time for the start of the school year thanks to the coordinated efforts of Delaware educators, Delaware businesses, Delaware healthcare institutions, and a partnership with the nonprofit First Book. 

Governor Carney showcased the closets at three schools – one in each county – to highlight to the impact these free supplies will have on Delaware students and families. Educators at Highlands Elementary School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, Towne Point Elementary School in the Capital School District, and Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in the Woodbridge School District hosted Thursday’s events. 

“Students face tremendous obstacles to doing their best in school when their basic needs are not met,” said Governor Carney. “By coordinating resources throughout the state, we are helping to make certain every Delaware student in high-needs schools has the basic resources many of us take for granted so they can focus on their education and thrive in the classroom. Thank you to all of our partners who helped make this a reality for Delaware students.”

Delaware’s basic needs closets will provide elementary and middle school students across the state with increased access to free products designed to meet students’ needs so they can effectively participate in class. Each school’s basic needs closet will be stocked with products identified by districts and charter schools as essential to the wellbeing of their students, including hygiene products, school supplies, clothes, and more. Students will be able to discreetly access the closets throughout the school year.

Delaware healthcare institutions and businesses statewide donated funding for the closets, including Christiana Care, Bayhealth, Nemours, Incyte, Nanticoke, and Beebe Health Systems, as well as Cover Rossiter, EDiS, and Drinker Biddle. Delaware partnered with the nonprofit First Book to purchase the basic needs products at a reduced rate, as a part of the First Book First State partnership.

Visit www.de.gov/schoolclosets to learn how to help.

Follow news about the Basic Needs Closets initiative on social media using the hashtag #firstbookfirststate. 

“Since we know that disadvantaged students benefit academically when their basic needs are met, we are truly grateful to have more of these resources available for Delaware schools,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Our goal is to assure that educators have needed supports so they can prepare all students for long-term success.” 

The Governor’s focus on meeting students’ basic needs demonstrates the state’s commitment to supporting the needs of Delaware's students to help them learn and thrive in school, which is part of the Governor’s broader education policy. 
The Delaware Department of Education will be supporting the Basic Needs Closets initiative. Governor Carney in July announced the creation of the Innovation and Improvement office, which will support educators and students in high-needs schools, especially those in the City of Wilmington.

“Our primary goal is to determine school needs and then coordinate supports and resources for students and families so that all students can come to school ready to learn,” said the new Director of Innovation and Improvement Dorrell Green. “To make certain students and families in high-needs schools have what they need to be successful in the classroom, none of us can operate alone.”

Delaware districts and charter schools have also welcomed the basic needs closets as they look for new ways to meet the diverse needs of their students. 

“One of the biggest challenges we face in education is children coming to school unprepared to succeed academically,” said Capital School District Superintendent Dan Shelton. “When we can address the immediate concerns first, we give students a greater opportunity to learn and, in turn, provide our teachers with better classroom environments that help every student.”

“When kids lack the most basic needs, including clothing and hygiene, their self-esteem and school attendance suffers,” said Kyle Zimmer, President and CEO of First Book. “Heroic teachers try to bridge the gap in resources -- but the need is too great. We applaud the State of Delaware -- led by Governor John Carney -- for fulfilling these essential needs. This kind of leadership is a critical step in ensuring that all kids have the equal access to a quality education that they deserve.”

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About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education — making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 160 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.

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

Media Contacts:
Jonathan Starkey
Cell: 302-256-8364
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Melanie Boyer, First Book 
Office: 202-639-0144
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Development lightbox Sept 2017 B2S