First Book is a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. We provide an ongoing supply of new books to children participating in community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs.
First Book was founded in 1992. The First Book model was developed to leverage the work of local heroes who reach children through existing literacy programs in a variety of settings, such as Head Start centers, libraries, soup kitchens, churches, housing projects, and afterschool initiatives. Working through this vast network of organizations, First Book plays a critical role in transforming the quality of preschool and after-school programs nationwide.
First Book's model is national in scope and local in impact. In our first year, First Book distributed approximately 12,000 books in three communities. Since that time, First Book has distributed more than 50 million books to children in over 3,000 communities around the country.
In our first decade, First Book converted a promising distribution concept into a premier national literacy organization. During this initial phase of development, First Book experienced a nearly vertical growth curve and established a broad range of strategic corporate, government, and nonprofit partnerships. The success of this phase has enabled the organization to build a national reputation and establish the foundation for long-term growth and development.
First Book now is poised to enter a new stage of development that includes new national initiatives and international expansion. Through its committed staff, heroic local Advisory Board volunteers, and a strong national Board of Directors and Advisory Council, First Book has accomplished its initial goals and has verified the impact of our work through an extensive evaluation performed by Louis Harris.
Through our success, we have established credibility in the literacy, governmental, and corporate arenas and built a strategic set of alliances that have positioned First Book to reach an unlimited number of children and communities in the coming years.