Succeeding Against the Odds
As we round out the first quarter of 2021, it seems like a good time to look back at what we achieved in 2020. Thanks to community support, we raised nearly $27,000 over the course of 2020, despite the many unusual challenges posed to all of us by the global pandemic.
We would particularly like to note the generosity of funders who awarded grants in response to applications by our volunteer grantwriters:
iQ Credit Union / iQ for Kids
Pacific Power Foundation
We also received funds from area businesses who support charitable giving as part of their operations:
Fred Meyer—Community Rewards
New Seasons Market—Bag It Forward @ Woodstock
¿Por Que No?
And, of course, we extend our gratitude to every person who attended our virtual fundraisers and made individual donations throughout the year, including during our armchair giving campaigns.
With these funds, we made book grants to local organizations who selected children’s books to suit their needs and distributed them to children who participate in their programs:
Albina Head Start
David Douglas Educational Foundation (DDEF)
Family of Friends Mentoring
Healthy Families Washington County
John Wetten Elementary
LifeWorks Healthy Families Beaverton
LifeWorks Healthy Families Hillsboro
MHCC Early Head Start
As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, your support remains vitally important to help children across our community build home libraries. No matter what is going on in the world around us, we want to keep planting the seeds of lifelong learning!
Please stay tuned for upcoming events as we look forward to warmer weather and the chance to be together in person someday soon.
We’re hard at work planning fundraising events for the year ahead, but here’s a quick recap of 2018. It was our 20th year as a team, and we are thrilled to confirm that thanks to donors, funders, and profit sharers, we raised just over $20,000! That means more than 6,500 new books for literacy programs run by these local organizations:
We are so happy to support these crucial programs for children in the Portland metro area. And if you join us for our upcoming events and fundraisers, you’ll be part of this success story for 2019!
There’s a lot going on for the rest of the year, and we wanted to make sure you know about everything!
August 31, 2018: Garden Bar Giveback Friday
A week from today, we’ll be the Giveback Friday partner for Garden Bar as part of their mission to invest deeply into the community. (They’ve raised more than $5,000 for local nonprofits this way!) For every Classic salad or Summer bowl sold that day, they’ll donate $1 to us—three salads at your table puts a new book in the hands of a local child in need. While you work up an appetite, check for you nearest location.
If you go, we’d love for you to share about it on social media to thank Garden Bar for their support: tag @gardenbarpdx on Instagram or Twitter.
October 25, 2019: Wine-ing for Literacy
Our signature fundraising event returns for its seventh year. We have several wonderful sponsors lined up and many donors have already contributed to our silent auction. Visit our Events page for all the details. Registration is live!
Through January 2019: Bag it Forward
We were so pleased to return as an education partner with New Seasons Market for the Bag It Forward program this year — and that was before we found out we’d been chosen by five locations. Wow! If you bring your own bag to shop at the following New Seasons locations, you can donate your refund to us. Just drop a bean in our jar.
• Cedar Hills, 3495 Southwest Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
• Hawthorne, 4034 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
• Progress Ridge, 14805 Southwest Barrows Rd, Beaverton
• Slabtown, 2170 Northwest Raleigh St, Portland
• Woodstock, 4500 Southeast Woodstock Blvd, Portland
If you are a Fred Meyer shopper, we are still registered with their Community Rewards program. They have updated their system, so we have a new number (#LN701). Visit our Give page for the complete how-to.
We’ve already hit the ground running for 2018, but we can’t say a final goodbye to 2017 without sharing news of our fundraising success. Last year, thanks to our donors, we raised just over $14,880! That means nearly 5,000 new books for literacy programs run by these local organizations:
We are so happy to support these crucial programs for children in the Portland metro area. And if you join us for our upcoming events and fundraisers, you’ll be part of this success story for 2018!
Attention, shoppers! For the next six months, First Book Portland is the Education Partner for the Bag It Forward program at two New Seasons Market locations.
Customers who bring their own bags can donate their 5¢ reusable bag refunds to one of three organizations that align with particular charitable giving focus areas: hunger relief, environmental conservation, and education. By selecting education, you’ll be donating directly to First Book Portland!
To participate, visit one of these locations:
• Seven Corners, 1954 SE Division Street, Portland
• Grant Park, 3210 NE Broadway Street, Portland
April 14, 2017
Rock out with local drummer, educator, and author Mark Powers and support us as the same time. Mark will be featuring his books, I Want To Be A Drummer! and I Want To Be A Reader! Our hosts, Ford Food and Drink, will be donating 10% of their profits to us, so we encourage you to arrive hungry and thirsty—and definitely bring some kiddos. RSVP to the Facebook event for additional details and to let us know you’ll attend.
July 12, 2017
Breweries for Books returns to Migration Brewing on July 12th, 4 – 8pm. Expect bookish fun for all ages, including a 50/50 raffle and other games, with 10% of proceeds going to First Book Portland. We have been able to include a local children’s author for the past two years and hope to do so again this year. (Right this way for our suggestion box.)
August 9, 2017
The wonderful profit-share at ¿Por Qué No? returns for another year. Both locations—Hawthorne and Mississippi— will be donating 20% of the day’s proceeds to First Book Portland between 11am and 10pm. Please reward them (and your tummy) for their generosity!
November 2, 2017 *new date*
We will be holding our sixth annual Wine-ing for Literacy event at Olympic Mills Commerce Center, a venue that was a real hit in 2016. This wine reception and silent auction is our biggest event, and it gets better every year. (Feel like donating to the silent auction? Get in touch!)
On February 24 and 25, several of our chapter members turned out to support a book giveaway organized by our friends at Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women.
Pi Beta Phi’s Lake Oswego-Dunthorpe and Portland alumnae clubs collaborated with their national organization and First Book to bring a 20,000 children’s books to Portland. The book give-away on February 25, which was hosted by PNCA, marked the group’s annual Fraternity Day of Service and was one of five similar signature events held around the country. (You read that right: 100,000 books.)
Everyone already registered as part of the First Book network was invited to participate in the event. We saw some familiar faces from Latino Network, Albina Head Start, West Women’s and Children’s Center, MHCC Early Head Start, and Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.
Other local educators from Title I-eligible schools and leaders of community programs where at least 70% of the students come from low-income families were able to register and attend as well.
After the event was over, something like 3,000 books went home with us for distribution to our recipient groups. We rarely get to handle books directly, since our groups typically select their own titles from the First Book Marketplace, so we jumped at the chance to do a little book distribution ourselves.
We will be able to fulfill a few special requests, such as Albina Head Start’s desire to provide book gifts to 200 kids aging out of their Early Head Start program—a treat for these children and their parents to read together before moving up to Head Start.
This special windfall will also allow us to offer books to groups whose official requests we were unable to fund in 2016. We are never able to meet the full need for our local literacy programs, so every book (and every dollar) extends our reach in very tangible ways.
Huge thanks to our local Pi Beta Phis! They have been wonderful partners for our chapter for several years, and we look forward to many more years of supporting children’s literacy together.
Earlier this year, First Book Portland was the featured charity for a week on Portland Radio Project’s Community Voices program. We publicized the interviews on social media, but never collected them in one spot here on the blog—luckily, the audio is still available for anyone who missed the original air dates! Check out the full series page, Uniting Children with Books. Thanks, again, to our wonderful representatives:
• Brianna Barrett, volunteer chapter member extraordinaire
• Craig Opfer of Magneto Brand Advertising, a community partner
• Helen Field, Supervisor and Lead Home Visitor for Albina Head Start
• Jennifer Goebel, Home Visitor for MHCC Early Head Start
Although we weren’t able to staff a booth this time around, we were so pleased to be able to donate 100 brand new books to this year’s Pathfinders of Oregon Rock the Block festival. (Perhaps with a few more volunteers on our team, we will be able to attend next year.) Congratulations to Pathfinders for a wonderful event!
Rock the Block is an engaging, family-oriented community celebration in Rockwood taking place over two days on May 29th and 30th, 2015. Rock the Block enables neighborhood residents to enjoy safe family fun, eat nutritious food, access and enroll in needed services, and change their environment for the better—all in one space. Rock the Block 2015’s overarching theme is an emphasis on literacy, and our goal is to send kids into summer with a renewed interest in reading and writing. Each child attending will receive books, miscellaneous swag, and access to positive activities.
Read coverage and see photos from the Portland Tribune/Gresham Outlook.
Image courtesy of the Pathfinders of Oregon blog.
“My family and I have been proud supporters of First Book for many years…Now we’re asking you to join us to get as many books in as many hands as possible by matching your donations, dollar for dollar, up to 50,000 smackers. The importance of books in the home cannot be overstated. A book is more than a gateway to a brighter future—it is a friend right now.” — Mo Willems
Image courtesy of First Book Blog.