Mazda Foundation Continues Support of Reading Is Fundamental Books for Ownership Programs
Over 30,000 children in California and Michigan benefit from free books
WASHINGTON, February 18, 2009—For more than 15 years the Mazda Foundation has been a champion of literacy supporting Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization.
This year, the Mazda Foundation has chosen to support specific RIF Books for Ownership (BFO) programs in California and Michigan through a grant of $55,000, bringing their total contributions to $1.1 million. As in all of RIF's literacy services, the BFO program motivates young children to read by providing them with the opportunity to choose and keep free books, and participate in fun literacy-related activities. The program also includes a family and community involvement component.
"The Mazda Foundation is proud to invest in the lives of children in Mazda communities," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations and chairman of Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. "By supporting eight large RIF programs in California and Michigan, we are able promote the love of reading among over 30,000 children by providing them with 100,000 books."
Children at the following locations will have several opportunities this year to select a book to add to their own home, thanks in part to the Mazda Foundation's donation:
Orange County, Calif.
Magnolia School District in Anaheim, which serves more than 2,000 children aged 2-13 through book distribution programs in three schools.
Savanna School District, also in Anaheim, provides books to nearly 2,500 children ages 3-12 through four local schools.
Wilson Elementary School in Costa Mesa has 748 students ages 4-11, 94 percent of whom are Hispanic.
Garden Grove Unified School District in Garden Grove reaches more than 12,000 ethnically diverse children through 21 elementary and intermediate schools.
Tustin Unified School District in Tustin has 3,906 students from six elementary and middle schools who receive RIF books. In addition to the Books for Ownership component, four of the participating schools will receive a 60-book lending library themed around automobiles, transportation, and engineering.
Wayne County, Mich.
People's Community Service of Metropolitan Detroit serves more than 7,000 children ages 3-12 at 16 educational centers. Twelve of these centers will receive the aforementioned 60-book lending library.
Flat Rock Community Schools in Flat Rock has 954 children ages 6-10 through two elementary schools.
Woodhaven-Brownstown School District, also in Flat Rock, serves 1,700 students in five elementary schools.
"The children who benefit from the Mazda Foundation's grant come from different backgrounds but share a common challenge: they are at risk for academic failure," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "By providing them with access to books and increased reading motivation we hope to positively impact their future."
About the Mazda Foundation (USA) Inc. Acting on a strong sense of responsibility to give something back to the communities in which it operates, Mazda established a philanthropic foundation. As the corporate foundation of Mazda North American Operations, it has awarded nearly $6 million to worthwhile causes across the United States since its initial grants in 1992. Over the past ten years, the Foundation has dedicated a significant portion of its contributions to programs that serve minority populations.
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 4.5 million children with 16 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.Discover the Joy!