In a new partnership with the federal government and nonprofit organizations, the National Book Foundation (NBF) has launched the Book Rich Environment Initiative—a book drive benefitting public housing communities that will unfold over the course of 2017.
NBF teamed up with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Urban Library Council, and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading on the initiative, which will bring books and other literacy tools to more than four million children and their families who live in HUD-assisted housing.
“By collaborating with these key national partners, we are able to build the foundation’s reach and further our mission of making sure that books matter, and that they matter everywhere,” said NBF board chairman David Steinberger, according to a press release.
Publishers such as Hachette Book Group and Macmillan Publishers are participating by making large donations, and Penguin Random House is in the lead with 200,000 books committed to the initiative. Over thirty public housing authorities and local library partners across the country have also pledged their support.
According to Lisa Lucas, executive director of the NBF, the new initiative will help the foundation expand its free afterschool program, BookUp, which has donated over 30,000 books to young people. “Through the Book Rich Environment Initiative, we will expand that to over 300,000 books by the end of 2017,” she said in a press release.
A public launch event in Washington, D.C., on January 5 included remarks from partners and stakeholders such as Susan Benton, president and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council; Broderick Johnson, White House Cabinet Secretary and Chair of My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; and many more. Following the initial donation, NBF will seek donations from additional publishers, implement accompanying community programming that supports local libraries, and help connect communities with authors.