2020 by the Numbers

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:

Autzen Foundation
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:

Bottle Drop
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
HOLLA Mentors
Human Solutions
IRCO
John Wetten Elementary
Latino Network
LifeWorks Healthy Families Beaverton
LifeWorks Healthy Families Hillsboro
MHCC Early Head Start
TLC-TNT

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.

2018 by the Numbers

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!

2017 by the Numbers

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!

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Did Someone Say ‘Free Books’?!

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.

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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.

On Air with Portland Radio Project

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

Spend #GivingTuesday with us—register now!

Skip the rest of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and do your holiday shopping with First Book Portland instead.

Latino Network Photo 4Our Wine-ing for Literacy silent auction is set for this coming Tuesday! It is a great way to join the statewide Oregonians Give campaign for #GivingTuesday, because every penny from ticket sales, the auction, and armchair donations will go to providing new books to local children in need. Check out our list of recipient groups to see who you will be supporting.

The event runs from 6–9pm at the offices of Urban Airship (1413 NW Everett Street in Portland). Advance tickets are $25, and you can use our online form to register right now.

Full details are available on our Events page, but we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of our generous donors, who are providing items for you to bid on during the event.

P.S. We have been tweeting our thanks to all our donors. If you’re on Twitter, please give them a follow or a like, and feel free to let them know you appreciate their support of children’s literacy.

P.P.S. We were featured on the Big Small Brands blog as a way to advocate for Oregon children during this giving season. It’s so nice to be included in the company of other organizations doing good work for our local kids!

We Rocked the Block (Well, Nudged It)

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.

Yet Another Reason to Love Mo Willems

“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.

 

Read Across America Day with Pi Beta Phi

Big thanks to the Lake Oswego-Dunthorpe Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women for a wonderful Read Across America Day party, as well as a generous donation to First Book!

Our joint event at the West Women’s & Children’s Shelter was a great success and received coverage in the Lake Oswego Review.