ANDERSON, IN (January 15, 2020) – United Way of Madison County is distributing 2676 books to schools and child care providers across the county and in Middletown as a participant in the successful grant application by the Indiana United Ways (IUW) to First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need. IUW’s submission was selected for OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation, a program that will give more than $4.7 million in funding to distribute 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities in 33 U.S. states and territories.
IUW received $62,000 with $7,075 awarded to support the Madison County program. Through United Way of Madison County’s Born Learning Program, elementary schools and On My Way Pre-K providers will use the award to expand early literacy tools by offering new, high quality contemporary books to the children they serve. “These books will make a tangible difference as we work to spark a love of reading and enable the book access which is essential to learning,” said Lynn Silvey, Born Learning outreach coordinator for United Way of Madison County.
Awardees are using the funding to select books and eBooks from the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.com), First Book’s award-winning eCommerce platform, that best meet the needs of the children they serve. First Book estimates the total value of the books distributed will be more than $12 million.
“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 Indiana United Ways 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. 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. Additionally, members of the First Book Network, who exclusively serve kids in need, have indicated that without First Book, the children they serve would have access to very few books, if any at all. (References below).
Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources from First Book outside of OMG Books Awards at www.firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit www.firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
 Sikora, et al. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.10.003
 Susan B. Neuman, Naomi Moland. “Book Deserts.” Urban Education, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0042085916654525
 First Book Member Survey, 2016
Lynn Silvey, Born Learning Coordinator
United Way of Madison County
About United Way of Madison County and Indiana United Ways
United Way of Madison County and Indiana United Ways envision a future where every person in our community thrives. Together we fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. For more information, visit www.unitedwaymadisonco.org and www.iuw.org.
About First Book
First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through sustainable, market-driven models, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by making new, high-quality books and educational resources, including sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more, affordable to its member network of more than 400,000 registered educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more learning materials than any other program of its kind: 175 million books and educational resources, worth more than $1.5 billion, reaching more than 5 million children annually across the U.S. and Canada.
First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources.
Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.