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Publishers Weekly Children's Features

RIF and Borders Begin Fund-Raising Campaign
Kevin Howell -- 8/10/98

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Borders have joined together in a new fund-raising campaign to promote literacy. Posters, brochures and other marketing material highlighting the Borders Open Books for Children Project went up last month in more than 200 Borders Books and Music locations to kick off the effort.

At the point of purchase, customers are being asked by booksellers if they would like to add a dollar or more to their purchase. (Customers will be able to make a contribution at all registers, whether they're buying a book, video, CD or coffee.) Customers' receipts will show the donation in case literacy boosters want to claim the donation as a deduction on their taxes. On a quarterly basis, Borders will send off half of the donated money to RIF and the other half is donated to local nonprofit literary partners (which are selected by each Borders store and can rotate on a quarterly basis).

Borders will add its own corporate contribution on a quarterly basis. Part of what will decide how much Borders contributes -- at least for the first quarter -- will be based on the sale of items featured in Borders's Children's Summer Catalog, where this program is being heavily promoted.

RIF president and CEO Dr. William E. Trueheart praised Borders's collaboration, saying it will enable "persons of good will who can afford to buy books to make a difference in the lives of children whose families are less fortunate." According to Borders's director of marketing, Jody Kohn, Borders and Waldenbooks have donated $2 million to RIF over the last 15 years. Borders is committed to the program for one year, with the intention of making it a multi-year, lasting project.

RIF is the oldest and largest nonprofit children's literacy organization, with a grassroots network of 17,000 community-based programs. Staffed by 240,000 volunteers and coordinators, RIF has given out more than 184 million books since its founding in 1966.
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