A Child With a Book Is a Promise to the Future

First Book
A very young boy squatting against a wall holding a picture book in front of his face.

A child with a book is a promise: If that child can read, she will forever be able to educate herself and contribute to her community. But high-quality, new books are far outside the reach of many of the 32 million American children living in low-income households and attending under resourced schools. Washington, DC-based social enterprise First Book’s online marketplace offers schools and programs serving children in need high-quality books at prices significantly below retail, secured through cooperative partnerships with publishers. Since 1992, the organization has distributed more than 160 million books, a real-life investment in the potential of underserved children and communities. 

"Since receiving his first Mo Willems book, Caleb fell in love. He now owns 11 of them. He has used his allowance money, asked his grandparents, basically any way he could think of to get more. Thanks for making a difference in the life of a kid." Caleb's teacher shared this story with First Book, passing forward Caleb's gratitude and reminder that a small investment can make a huge difference in the life of a child. 

First Book has recently expanded marketplace inventory to include a wide range of items beyond books that address other barriers to learning experienced by children in poverty, including non-perishable food for children who arrive to school hungry, winter coats to combat attendance drop off by students who can’t afford outerwear, and hygiene kits to support homeless children. NFF helped First Book launch its marketplace in 2007; then, in 2015, we provided $2.75 million to upgrade the technology that supports its online platform, enhancing distribution, improving First Book’s ability to collect and analyze data, and helping expand the reach and impact of the marketplace. "NFF has played an integral role in our organization's development.” says Kyle Zimmer, First Book's CEO. “NFF is a premier leader in nonprofit financing and we couldn't have done it without them."

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