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Macy's Back-to-School Promotion Raises Record $2.5 Million for Reading Is Fundamental

WASHINGTON—October 4, 2007—Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), the nation’s oldest and largest children's and family literacy organization, announced today that a six-week promotion held at all Macy's stores has raised a record $2.5 million, which will be used to fund new books for underserved children and an ongoing multicultural literacy campaign.

"Thanks to the support of Macy's and the generosity of its customers, RIF can advance its mission to motivate young children to read by expanding its outreach to children and families who most need books and literacy resources," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Local RIF programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will benefit from these additional resources."

More than 850,000 Macy's employees and customers made a $3 contribution to RIF during the Be One for the Books promotion, which ran July through September 2007. The promotion offered Macy's customers an opportunity to make a $3 dollar contribution for RIF, in exchange for a Macy's savings pass that provided $10 off most purchases of $50 or more. This year’s promotion, a new RIF record for a customer-supported donation, more than doubled the $1.2 million raised by Macy’s customers for RIF in 2006.

"Macy's is committed to supporting education and helping RIF reach more at-risk children with new books and services to promote literacy," said Bill Hawthorne, vice president, Diversity Strategies and Legal Affairs for Macy’s. "These funds will help RIF advance its important new multicultural literacy campaign, which RIF announced in June 2007." 

RIF's multicultural literacy campaign is a multi-year effort to promote and support early childhood literacy in the African-American, Hispanic and Native American communities.

Reading scores among African-American, Hispanic, and Native American fourth graders lag significantly behind those of white and Asian children. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 76 percent of white and 73 percent of Asian children score at or above basic reading level, as compared to 42 percent of African-American, 46 percent of Hispanic and 48 percent of Native American children.

Macy's has already provided the funding for a RIF early childhood public service campaign and multicultural book collections and literacy activity kits donated to RIF programs in low-income communities throughout the U.S. Each collection includes  hard-bound books with themes of interest to African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American children. A full list of the collection titles can be viewed at www.rif.org.

"There is growing research and awareness of the importance of children being exposed to books that reflect their own culture," said Violet Harris, professor of curriculum and instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of RIF's multicultural literacy campaign advisory council. “When children see themselves in the books they read at a young age, they are more likely to want to read more often."

 

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

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About Macy’s
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Offering distinctive assortments including exclusive fashion and home brands, Macy's stores are operated by seven regionally based retail divisions – Macy's East, Macy's Florida, Macy's Midwest, Macy's North, Macy's Northwest, Macy's South, and Macy's West – and an online store at macys.com. 

Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager
202-536-3528

Macy's Back-to-School Promotion Raises Record $2.5 Million for Reading Is Fundamental