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First Book, Target Team Up to Bring New Sports Equipment to Further Wellness and Learning for Children in Need

From Soccer Balls to Baseballs, Target Helps First Book Go to Bat to Help Educators Boost Physical Activity for Kids in Need

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2016 -- As part of its ongoing mission to further educational equity, First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise, is adding sports and fitness equipment to the wide range of resources available to programs and schools serving children in need, thanks to support from Target.

"Whether it's dribbling a basketball, playing softball, or maneuvering through an obstacle course, physical activity can improve academic achievement, boost cognitive skills and improve concentration and behavior for kids – both in and out of the classroom," said Kyle Zimmer, First Book President and CEO.  "Thanks to Target, many more schools and programs serving kids in need will have the resources to encourage healthy activities that also foster learning."

Through Target funding, First Book will now offer brand new softballs, soccer balls, bean bag toss games, playground balls and more on the First Book Marketplace, the organization's award-winning e-commerce site where educators serving children growing up in low-income families can access high-quality, new books, educational resources and supplies – at the lowest possible costs or for free.

In addition, because many schools and programs have absolutely no budgets for school resources, funding from Target will also provide credits that educators can use to access sports equipment from the First Book Marketplace site.  

First Book, which has operations in both the U.S. and Canada, works with formal and informal educators serving children in need ages 0-18 in a wide range of settings – from schools, classrooms, summer school and park and rec programs, to health clinics, homeless shelters, faith-based programs, libraries, museums, summer food sites and more.  Almost 32 million children are growing up in low-income families in the U.S. alone – now more than half of all students in U.S. public schools.  First Book currently works with more than 275,000 educators in classrooms and programs that are serving children in need; more than 5,000 new programs and classrooms sign up with First Book every month.

"At Target, we are committed to helping make wellness a way of life for our team members, guests and communities," said Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Target. "That's why we are excited to partner with an impressive array of organizations like First Book that are already doing such important work to make an impact in the wellness space. Together, we will help remove barriers to wellness in our communities, working to increase the consumption of nutrient-dense food and physical activity of kids and families across the country."

Target is granting up to $40 million this year to help fund new partnerships and programs in the wellness space committed to increasing the consumption of nutrient-dense food and increasing physical activity of kids and families across the country. 

"We are enormously grateful for Target's support – not just for the programs served by First Book, but for the leadership that Target continues to demonstrate to strengthen all of our communities," said Zimmer. 

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise founded in 1992 that has distributed more than 150 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada, which, with more than 275,000 members, is the largest and fastest growing network of educators exclusively serving kids in need. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. Eligible educators, librarians, program leaders, 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.