Donation is part of longstanding commitment to restoring disaster-affected communities
WASHINGTON (January 23, 2020)—First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise committed to equal access to quality education, in partnership with award-winning author Alane Adams and the Rise Up Foundation, will bring 20,000 new books—valued at approximately $160,000—to hurricane-affected communities in northwest Florida next month. Working with the Florida Education Association and Florida panhandle school districts, Adams will also conduct school-wide assemblies at 10 schools that are receiving books. The distribution is a continuation of First Book’s and Adams’ commitment to restoring disaster-affected communities across the United States, including previous distributions in Houston and Northern California.
“We need to ensure educators have everything they need to teach, and kids have everything they need to learn, especially after a disaster,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and co-founder. “Schools are at the heart of every community; they provide a sense of normalcy and comfort. These books are not just for the sake of quality education, but for the sake of restoring communities.”
From Hurricane Katrina to catastrophic wildfires, First Book has distributed more than 5 million books to educators, kids, and families affected by disasters, working with first responders, communities, schools, and libraries to get the right resources in the right hands at the right time.
“Natural disasters cause not only financial devastation to communities but take a toll on the emotional well-being of its youngest citizens,” said Alane Adams, Rise Up Foundation founder. “The ability to put new books into the hands of children affected by these disasters is a way to help them return to a sense of normalcy and remind them that there is still magic in the world.”
Rise Up Foundation distributed more than 35,000 books for school libraries and classrooms and Adams held student assemblies in 13 schools affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area as well as 11,600 books to 12 schools in Lake County, Calif., devastated by the Mendocino Complex Fire.
“We were thrilled to work with the Rise Up Foundation and continue our efforts through the AFT-First Book partnership to support students and educators throughout the Florida panhandle who are still striving to recover and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Michael,” said Fedrick Ingram, Florida Education Association president. “Alane Adams’ generous gift of not only her books, but her financial support and her time is much appreciated and a reminder to us all that there is still much more to do to help these communities fully recover.”
Books and resources are critical, but scarce, for kids in need. Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational inequality in the United States, but research has identified vast ‘book deserts’ concentrated in low-income communities across the U.S.—with one community having only a single book to be shared among as many as 830 children. Additionally, in a poll of the First Book network, 82 percent of respondents reported that without First Book their children would have very few or no new books.
About First Book
Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its 27-year history, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources, with a value of more than $1.5 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 450,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.
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. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books.
About The Rise Up Foundation
The Rise Up Foundation strives to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty and difficult circumstances. Rise Up supports literacy projects as a path toward improving the future prospects of children in underserved communities by making book donations, providing classroom support, and grant-making. In addition to literacy efforts, Rise Up works with organizations committed to defining and solving the problems that chronic poverty brings to children and their communities.
About Alane Adams
Alane Adams is an award-winning transmedia author, former professor, and literacy advocate. She is the author of the Legends of Orkney, Witches of Orkney, and her newest Legends of Olympus fantasy mythology series for tweens, as well as The Coal Thief, The Egg Thief, The Santa Thief, and The Circus Thief historical picture books for early-grade readers. She is also the founder of the Rise Up Foundation. She lives in Southern California.
 Susan B. Neuman, Naomi Moland. “Book Deserts.” Urban Education, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0042085916654525
Keely Platte, BookSparks PR
Melanie Boyer, First Book