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A Holiday Note From RIF’s President and CEO

With the holidays upon us and 2018 drawing to a close, I want to take time to reflect on the amazing impact that Reading Is Fundamental, in partnership with community members, donors, partners, educators, literacy advocates, and volunteers have made in the lives of more than 10 million children, coast to coast. From stocking libraries in Bronx affordable housing communities and partnering with schools in Houston to support children affected by Hurricane Harvey, to hosting our first National Reading Coalition and being selected as Tina Fey’s charity of choice at Variety Magazine’s Power of Women event, RIF continues to reach children with new books, digital tools and programmatic support. Thanks to you we are making a difference in the lives of children every single day.

At RIF, we believe the greatest gift you can give a child is the gift of literacy. Reading is the key building block for life’s journey, yet, there is a literacy crisis in America today. The impact is staggering and the need is growing. Shockingly, 25 million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently and 63% of fourth graders read below grade level. Poor reading skills stretch past the walls of the classroom and a have damaging, cyclical effect on a child’s future. In fact, an adult who can’t read proficiently has a 43% chance of living in poverty.

The most startling fact of all is that the literacy crisis is a problem we can solve. Together, we can make a difference by ensuring that every child has access to the opportunities literacy provides. RIF is committed to creating a literate America by providing children with the books and digital literacy tools they need to strive, enabling volunteers with resources to make literacy impact in their communities and partnering with parents to think outside the book and bring literacy home.

Over this past year, RIF partnered with viral marathon reader, 5-year-old Caleb Green and his family on National Reading Day to provide more than 5,000 books and literacy support materials to disadvantaged Chicago schools. As part of National Reading Month, we kicked off the Million Book March, a month-long campaign encouraging children to read as many books as they could during March. In April, RIF was named as the 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brand of the Year and the Most Trusted Brand in the Youth Nonprofit category, a coveted honor based on consumer rankings. In September, we convened leaders in education, government and corporate America to address the relationship between literacy and a strong workforce and sought to collectively work together to ensure every child can read. RIF also topped the Library of Congress’s Literacy Awards winning the 2018 David M. Rubenstein Prize which honors organizations making outstanding and measurable contributions toward increasing literacy levels. Beyond these remarkable achievements and major impact, RIF also touched the hearts and minds of children in all 50 states, in urban and rural communities with the books they need to thrive.

By giving the gift of literacy, we offer children hope for the future. This holiday season, I ask for you to join us so we can provide every child the fundamental building blocks to live a life without limits.