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Press Release

Pearson Foundation Selects Groundbreaking Nonprofit to Receive Digital Platform and $1.3M

First Book to Harness Power of We Give Books on Behalf of Children in Need

WASHINGTON, October 20, 2014 – First Book today announced a significant new commitment from the Pearson Foundation that will transform the organization’s ability to provide critical reading opportunities to young people across the United States and around the world.

As of today, First Book, a Washington-based nonprofit social enterprise, will be the new home of We Give Books, the public-private partnership developed by the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Group USA that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online. The We Give Books website features digital versions of more than 300 popular children’s books that kids, parents and educators can choose to read using a tablet or personal computer.

In addition to inspiring lifelong readers, We Give Books also provides a platform for giving back. Books read at www.wegivebooks.org trigger donations of new books that are given to programs and classrooms serving children in need. Launched just four years ago, We Give Books has helped to deliver more than 3.25 million hardcover and paperback books to children around the world.

“First Book is uniquely positioned to help We Give Books share more great children’s books than ever before,” said Mark Nieker, president and CEO of the Pearson Foundation. “First Book has led the charge to ensure all young people have an equal chance to read and learn, and in the process has developed a rich network of educators and community leaders eager to make use of digital services. First Book has earned the deep trust of children’s book publishers by offering them a chance to make a difference in a child’s life. We look forward to seeing all First Book will make happen – both for members of the We Give Books community and for the children they serve.”

The Pearson Foundation will also provide First Book with more than $1.3 million in cash to support We Give Books and deliver new online programs and services to First Book’s growing network of more than 140,000 classrooms and community organizations serving children in need.

“First Book is thrilled to receive this vote of confidence for our work,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “With these new assets and financial support, First Book will be able to reach millions more children who are waiting for our help. We’re grateful the Foundation has such faith in our people and our mission. We look forward to building upon the wonderful tradition of educational equity embodied by the Pearson Foundation.”

By assuming control of We Give Books and associated programming initiatives – including the 2015 Read for My School program in the United Kingdom – First Book adds the distribution of digital books to its growing catalog of offerings for under-resourced classrooms and community organizations. Since its inception in 1992, First Book has distributed more than 120 million books and educational resources to those serving children from low-income families.

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 120 million brand-new books and educational resources to the largest and fastest growing network of schools and programs serving children from low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About We Give Books

We Give Books is an online platform that helps children become lifelong readers and givers. We Give Books supports literacy through programs that engage entire communities. More information can be found at www.wegivebooks.org

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to make a difference by promoting literacy, learning and great teaching. The Pearson Foundation collaborates with leading businesses, nonprofits and education experts to share good practice; foster innovation; and find workable solutions to the educational disadvantages facing young people and adults across the globe. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.