First Book (firstbook.org) combats illiteracy by providing children and schools in low-income communities with access to affordable books. Since its foundation in 1992, the organization has distributed more than 100 million new books in thousands of communities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and it now delivers an average of 35,000 books every day. Working with more than 90 leading publishers, First Book sells new releases to school systems where at least 70 percent of students come from low-income homes at prices ranging from 50 to 90 percent below retail value. It also runs a network of clearinghouses where publishers donate surplus books for free distribution. First Book is currently working to expand its digital content so that children in need won’t miss out on new technologies.
Each charity we feature has earned a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which rates not-for-profit organizations on the strength of their finances, their control of administrative and fundraising expenses, and the transparency of their operations. Four stars is the group’s highest rating.