- Kirsten Ballard
Scripps Howard Foundation has donated 100,000 books to children across the nation in the past two years as part of the “If You Give a Child a Book” literacy campaign.
This was the second year of the campaign, which coordinates with National Reading Day. The campaign is a partnership of the Foundation, employees of the E.W. Scripps Company and members of the Scripps family.
“We wanted to do something our employees could get behind,” said Liz Carter, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “This really fit in with who we are. The mission of the company is to create a better-informed world.”
The “If You Give a Child a Book …” campaign receives donations from Scripps employees and matching dollars from members of the Scripps family. Every dollar is used to purchase books for children in need. Books are purchased at cost through a partnership with Scholastic, further maximizing the purchase power of every donated dollar.
“No matter if you are the person in the corner office, [or] the person at reception—you could give a book,” Carter said.
In the second year, she said the campaign was more thoughtful and prepared around the idea that not only could they donate books, the Scripps Company could tell its communities about the issue of illiteracy.
“On national reading day, we were really diligent about telling those stories,” she said. “We can’t wait until [children] are in third, fourth or fifth grade. You have to start when they’re tiny.”
Next year, she expects the campaign will turn to the communities and invite them to participate in the book drive as well. “Parents in low-income families have so much on their plates,” she said. “They’re after the basics like food, heating and housing. If kids are going to get [these books], it’s going to have to come from us, the community.”
In addition to the annual National Reading Day book-gifting activities, the Foundation has provided $100,000 in campaign-related grants since 2017 to select nonprofit organizations that distribute books to children.
Five organizations are surprised each year with a $10,000 grant. Recipients are selected through a competitive application process.
To learn more, visit the Scripps Howard Foundation.