Featured

Quad Donates $25,000 to MagLiteracy.org to Kickstart Creation of National Literacy Marketplace

Donation Supports Efforts to Combat Poverty Amid Rising Challenges From the COVID-19 Pandemic and Persistent Social Issues

September 10, 2020

SUSSEX, Wis. & COLUMBUS, Ohio — In celebration of International Literacy Day and the 16th anniversary of the founding of MagLiteracy.org this week, Quad announced today that it has donated $25,000 to MagLiteracy.org to kickstart the creation of a first-of-its-kind national literacy marketplace. The marketplace, a nationwide network of regional literacy banks, will facilitate donations of new, recycled or expired magazines and comic books to local literacy programs – an important tool in combatting poverty.

“So far, Quad has stored and moved more than 1 million magazines for MagLiteracy.org. The literacy rewards we have been able to achieve thanks to Quad’s generous support are immeasurable.

Quad’s cornerstone contribution to MagLiteracy.org will be used to:

  • Establish a Magazine Literacy Lab in Madison, Wisconsin, which will serve as a training, education and resource center for individuals and groups looking to establish or grow literacy programs in their own communities, replicating MagLiteracy.org’s proven best practices, including how to engage volunteers.
  • Support operations at MagLiteracy.org’s newly established Ohio Literacy Bank, a warehouse in Columbus for processing large-volume magazine donations (from publishers, newsstand returns, etc.). These donations, which are sorted and boxed by volunteers, are delivered to literacy programs in Columbus and other nearby cities, including parts of Appalachia. The warehouse is the first in a planned nationwide network of regional literacy banks that will supply local literacy programs inside women’s shelters, youth mentoring programs, job training centers, meal programs and food pantries.

“We know that literacy is at the heart of freedom, prosperity, civility and equality of opportunity, and essential for eradicating poverty,” said John Mennell, Founder of MagLiteracy.org. “More than 12 million U.S. children live in poverty, and two-thirds of those children have no books at home. It’s a discouraging situation, but one we can effectively address, and thanks to the generous donation from Quad, we are able to kickstart the creation of a national literacy marketplace modeled after the food bank industry. We will find and feed children and adults hungry to read.”

According to Mennell, illiteracy and low literacy are at the center of every important social issue – from health and well-being to racial and gender equality, and sustainable employment. For example:

  • 43 percent of adults with the low literacy levels live in poverty, and 70 percent of adult public assistance recipients have low literacy levels.(1)
  • Nearly half of American adults have difficulty understanding and using health information, hindering their ability to make appropriate health decisions and increasing the likelihood they will incur higher healthcare costs. More than $230 billion per year in healthcare costs are linked to low adult literacy.(2)
  • Individuals with low literacy have a higher rate of unemployment and earn lower wages than the national average.(3)
  • Most poor children live in homes with zero books.(4)

“Quad and the Quadracci family are long-time champions of literacy, and have supported our mission in a variety of ways over a number of years, including providing transportation services and warehouse space,” Mennell said. “So far, Quad has stored and moved more than 1 million magazines for MagLiteracy.org. The literacy rewards we have been able to achieve thanks to Quad’s generous support are immeasurable.”

Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO of Quad, said: “Myriad recent events – from the COVID-19 pandemic to natural disasters and widespread social unrest – have reinforced the importance of prioritizing people. Now more than ever we must work with urgency and focus to affect tangible, lasting change. We are proud to support the very important work being undertaken by John Mennell and MagLiteracy.org. We hope our cornerstone contribution will inspire publishers – as well as other printers and supply-chain partners – to join us in this important humanitarian effort. MagLiteracy.org is building a literacy pipeline that we can fill with magazines, comic books and other types of reading materials. Through this effort, we can increase literacy and help lift people out of poverty. This is consistent with our long-standing company values, including Believe in People and Innovate, and our unremitting drive to create a better way for our clients, our communities and our world.”

Numerous publishers are already supplying magazines to MagLiteracy.org, including those who publish materials specifically for children and families. “We thank everyone who is supporting our mission,” Mennell said. “Demand for literacy support services has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are glad to be part of the solution, and look forward to growing our presence all across the nation.”

(1) National Institute for Literacy 
(2) American Journal of Public Health / American Public Health Association 
(3) National Council for Adult Learning 
(4) Reading Is Fundamental

About MagLiteracy.org

MagLiteracy.org exists to promote literacy, strengthen readership and learning, and end poverty by supplying recycled and new magazines to literacy programs. The 501(c)3 non-profit, formally known as the Magazine Publishers Family Literacy Project, rescues every available magazine for delivery to at-risk readers to help develop lasting, life-long reading habits that change lives for good. For additional information visit www.magliteracy.org.

About Quad

Quad (NYSE: QUAD) is a worldwide marketing solutions partner dedicated to creating a better way for its clients through a data-driven, integrated marketing platform that helps reduce complexity, increase efficiency and enhance marketing spend effectiveness. Quad provides its clients with unmatched scale for client on-site services and expanded subject expertise in marketing strategy, creative solutions, media deployment (which includes a strong foundation in print) and marketing management services. With a client-centric approach that drives its expanded offering, combined with leading-edge technology and single-source simplicity, Quad has the resources and knowledge to help a wide variety of clients in multiple vertical industries, including retail, financial/insurance, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, publishing and direct-to-consumer. Quad has multiple locations throughout North America, South America and Europe, and strategic partnerships in Asia and other parts of the world. For additional information visit www.Quad.com.

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Featured

BoSacks – Pandemic Publishing Roundtable

Pandemic Publishing Roundtable: An Industry-Wide Celebration

By Linda Ruth on August 22, 2020 – reprinted

John Mennell is throwing a party, and we are all invited. In fact, John says, he wants every industry stakeholder—every printer, shipper, distributor, retailer and publisher—to join him in celebrating literacy.

John joined the Publishing Pandemic Roundtable–Joe Berger, Samir Husni, Bo Sacks, Sherin Pierce, Gemma Peckham, and me–on Wednesday to talk about his vision.

Joe: Tell us about what you do. Where does this vision come from?

John: It’s modeled after food banks; I have a history with this model, and I thought, it’s important to feed people’s bodies, and we also have to give them the opportunity to feed their minds. So I got the idea of adding literacy banks, and literacy newsstands to the current foodbanks. The idea is to support existing programs with literacy materials.

 Joe: How is the Covid crisis impacting your program?

 John: Demands on food banks are exploding, just trying to feed all the people. And Covid is moving the pickup to curbside. So that was a setback for ready access to our literacy newsstands inside food pantries. For example, there is a food bank network in Columbus that feeds 600 families per day. We’d been on the point of putting three literacy newsstands into this Columbus location for weekly families, walk-ins seeking emergency food, and for a children’s corner; but at the rate they must fulfill the curbside needs, they have only 38 seconds per car. We asked ourselves: how can they include our literacy distribution —

Joe: Maybe by pre-packing?

 John: –and that’s the exact solution we came up with. Like packages of food from a deli counter, we’re including pre-packaged bundles of consumer and children’s magazines along with the food packages.

 Sherin: Are you able to get unsolds from the wholesalers?

Sherin: They can get a tax writeoff

John: Our ambition is to get them from every link, to rescue every expired copy throughout the supply chain. We get them from publishers, from consumers, and we’re in a pilot program with Barnes and Noble to retrieve their expired copies. We’re starting with stores in Columbus Ohio and rural Alabama; eventually we’ll have ability to rescue these magazines nation-wide.

 The other major source of magazines are consumers. They have bought the magazines they love, kept them in their collection for many years, and they want to share them because they love the idea of supporting children and families. They can’t bear to see these magazines destroyed.

 And yes, there are ways of writing off the costs, and currently there is a huge opportunity cost to NOT providing magazines. When we introduce ourselves to the local Barnes and Noble, the staff is so happy to find readers for the expired mags rather than having to destroy them. Expired magazines no longer have a monetary value, you have to pay to dispose them. By passing them on, we create supply chain value and give the product a new life by creating new readers, a new audience for these precious publications. We are creating readers who will grow up with these brands.

This is in the interest of every industry partner at every point in the distribution channel. By providing copies to at-risk children, we are creating tomorrow’s readers. And I am convinced that a consumer who is inspired to purchase a gift subscription for an at-risk child, for a job-training program, for a kindred spirit, that consumer will forever be connected to the magazine through the good they have achieved. The possibilities for connection are endless in every interest group. Getting these publications into at-risk homes has enormous positive impact on developing readers and no negative. 

 Sherin: It connects them to the magazine, and also to the advertiser’s brands.  The brands you are accustomed to as a child, they stay with you. It gives the advertisers a reason to participate as well.

 Joe: How did you get started?

 John: Years ago, when I ran for public office, I knocked on the door of a food pantry. It was empty; there was no food. That prompted me to switch gears; it began my journey in public relief. I created a national hunger hotline in the early 90s, where we were able to link callers to their local food pantry. And I saw the many at-risk children who would benefit from having reading materials in their homes. It began with children’s magazines, and grew from there—there were so many at-risk populations that could benefit.

 We had no warehouse, no logistics capability, but we found ways to rescue lost magazines and get them straight to food banks, to literacy newsstands. We expanded out from kids, we support literacy for all ages; and the age of a magazine does not diminish its value. Even then, we never said no to donations of magazines. We always found a way. We airlifted National Geographic to Inuit families north of the Arctic Circle, Lacrosse magazines to Serbian youth in Croatia. Since then, we’ve moved the ball down the field; now we have a warehouse, a literacy bank, we can receive pallets, we have volunteers who show up when they are delivered to “swarm the stack”. The large shipments come in, the cars arrive, the volunteers pick them up and drop them down the last mile to their destinations throughout the week. National Wildlife recently sent 100,000 magazines and we distributed them throughout central Ohio within a couple of weeks; we sent pallets to West Virginia, to Detroit. Our dream is to make this national, to create these literacy banks, from them to break up shipments into smaller quantities and get them out to the literacy newsstands all over the country, all over the world, and send out in literacy boxes to areas outside the places we have a team.

Sherin: will you partner with Books a Million in the south?

 John: We’ll partner with organizations everywhere. In rural Alabama there is only one Barnes and Noble. We wanted to provide magazines to teachers and schools, so we partnered with a teacher school-supply closet, an education foundation that was very important geographically.

 Joe: I love your idea that subscribers can gift a food bank or shelter with a subscription to a magazine. How does that work?

John: I was thinking of Gemma’s MagBox. Similar to that, a consumer can give a subscription or group subscription to a program. You could bulk ship the magazines; we would provide the addresses. The publishers can create the program and promote it; they are experts at consumer engagement, and this is a big win, because it gives consumers a new reason to subscribe. We as an organization will follow up to remind the consumers of the direct impact they have on individuals. These subscribers are more likely to stay and renew. An individual child, a grandchild for example, will age out, but there are always kids that will value these products, these subscriptions need never expire.

Leveraging the industry’s promotional expertise, we can inspire consumers to buy at price points higher than they are accustomed to because of the way their enormous enthusiasm for promoting literacy for children and families. We have individuals who pay over $200 just to send their recycled magazines so they have a new home.

Every night there are 30,000 moms and kids sleeping in domestic abuse shelters; the average stay is 2 months. These people have escaped home with nothing and are scared. I would love to provide the comfort of a magazine to each mom and a partner magazine to each child; with publisher partnerships we could create a promotion that literally promises to get every mom and every child a magazine. Think of how impactful, how comforting, how inspiring such a program would be.

 Linda: You’ve invited all channel participants to the party. What would you ask publishers to do?

John: How far can we take this story? Publishers have the marketing and engagement prowess to get this message out over every available channel. We are fledgling; we have zero funds. We leverage goodwill, volunteers are our champions. We get a lot of technology support; WordPress lets us use all their platforms at no cost. Quad has helped us by moving a million magazines. Quad has also given us our first large grant, a cornerstone grant of $25,000—they are setting an example.

Sherin: Has the Quad PR team put out that story to inspire other printers? It’s an important story to tell.

 John: We need the resources to run a proper industry-wide organization, to professionalize the work we’re doing. We could use help, even to manage the contributions of time and effort.  We need staff, who we’ll have to compensate. We need every stakeholder to find a level they can say yes to. How do we navigate this, how do we rise to the occasion, how do we contribute to this effort in which we all have a common interest?

Sherin: we as publishers are always looking for a way forward. I get letters from prisoners asking for the Old Farmer’s Almanac; I always send it to them. They have little to read, little to do. If you had a tier structure to offer publishers to participate in a shelter program they could choose how much they could send. It would feel so much better to use the unsolds then destroy them.

 John: Yes, we need the industry to come together in a way that every publisher can participate at a level that is feasible, comfortable, and, importantly, renewable.

 Sherin: I can donate the Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids.

 John: That will make many children, and their parents, very happy.

Find out more at https://magliteracy.org/

Featured

Bosacks Speaks Out

Bosacks Speaks Out: Quad Graphics, Magazine Literacy and Meaningful Industrial Kindness

April 20, 2020 – reprinted

Special people and special companies deserve a shout out of thanks and gratitude from time to time. In this case, I want to bring to your attention the tireless work of John Mennell of MagazineLiteracy.org and Joel Quadracci of Quad Graphics. In my book they are unsung heroes performing necessary acts of kindness valiantly even though behind the scenes.

MagazineLiteracy.org supplies recycled printed products, new magazines, and comics to literacy programs around the country. From their web site comes the following statement: “Why are magazines and comics so special for literacy, you might ask? Promoting literacy establishes a lifelong reading habit. Studies show that holding reading materials in your hands increases learning. Magazines and comic books become familiar and not intimidating. They educate and inspire. Magazines and comic books in hands and homes foster ownership and build self-esteem.”

One of their mottoes is “Literacy ends poverty” — a noble venture, to say the least.

MagazineLiteracy.org has grassroots distribution capabilities, but they don’t have any logistics capability on a large scale. One of last year’s problems was 200,000 donated Cricket Media magazines sitting in a warehouse down in Des Moines and recently three pallets of NWF Zoobie magazines sitting in a warehouse in Peru, IL. 

John told me that Joel Quadracci and the Quad logistics team have picked up magazine pallets and then either delivered them directly to MagazineLiteracy team locations or placed them in Quad warehouses while MagazineLiteracy lined up the receiving end of the literacy programs, and then made deliveries over vast distances.

As an example of 200,000 Cricket Media magazines they delivered 10 pallets to the Greater Chicago Food Depository food bank; 3 pallets to Milwaukee; 7 pallets the the Fox Cities United Way; 5 or so pallets to Green Bay; a pallet to Toronto, Canada, where they operate a literacy newsstand in a food pantry; and pallets to a Columbus Ohio food pantry network.

John said that by the time MagazineLiteracy.org gets the call, they need a rapid response. He said, “it’s like the perishable food rescued from restaurants that go to food pantries. The opportunities are so valuable to our literacy programs, we have to act quickly to retrieve them.”

John went on to say, “With these and other Quad supported efforts, we’ve moved over a million magazines.” John pointed out that “Joel and his team have been so generous, and never flinching, allowing us to have an enormous impact and showing us what’s possible as we reach for meeting our full promise.”

Well, doesn’t that story make you feel good? My thanks to Joel and John for doing this meaningful and impactful philanthropy and for promoting genuine kindness on such a profound human scale. Magazines can help those in need, and perhaps literacy can help to end poverty.

Recycle your magazines and comic books for literacy.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead
Featured

John Mennell interview with Mr. Magazine – Samir Husni

Building a Pipeline to Literacy – One Magazine at a Time – This is the Goal of John Mennell, Founder of MagazineLiteracy.org, an Organization Dedicated to Feeding the Minds and Spirits of People with the Wonderful World of Magazines…

March 12, 2014 – reprinted

The printed magazines are so important. The experience of holding a printed magazine in your hand and reading it, the experience of finding some time and reading a print magazine is so valuable.” John Mennell, MagazineLiteracy.org Founder

Making a difference in people’s lives is the paramount reason John Mennell founded MagazineLiteracy.org. Years earlier, working with hunger relief, he came to the conclusion that people who had very little food probably had very little reading material as well, contributing to a cycle of illiteracy and poverty for children and adults that could keep them bound in their present situations indefinitely. With the website, which was made possible through donations, grants and financial support from people who believed in his dream, MagazineLiteracy.org has been able to put magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of children and families who want to learn to read, all over the world.

I spoke with John about his vision and his continued dreams and goals for the future of the organization. So, sit back and be inspired by the Mr. Magazine™ interview with John Mennell, Founder of MagazineLiteracy.org., and a man who believes one person and one magazine at a time can change the world.

But first the sound-bites:

On how much one man can do to save the world one magazine at a time:

I’ve learned in my life that one person can make a difference. Every person can accomplish amazing things.

On whether or not it matters to the organization if the material is in print or a digital format:

The printed magazines are so important. The experience of holding a printed magazine in your hand and reading it, the experience of finding some time and reading a print magazine is so valuable.

On teaming up with company campaigns, such as Whole Foods Market:

We are scheduled to do that April 12th and 13th at a Whole Foods store. It will be our first drive with Whole Foods and our goal is to clear the shelves of all the magazines, to distribute them via a food pantry, mentoring programs, etc.

On the major obstacles facing future dreams of the organization:

It’s not that there are obstacles, but there is a really important opportunity that we need to address. We want to create a global online marketplace that would essentially fill needs from literacy programs with our magazines and consumers funding those magazines for delivery for the literacy programs.

On what keeps him up at night:

What keeps me up at night: Honestly, I am long on community organizing experience, I am long on literacy experience, but I’m short on the magazine publishing industry.

And now the lightly edited Mr. Magazine™ conversation with John Mennell, MagazineLiteracy.org Founder…

Samir Husni: How much can one man do to save the world one magazine at a time or to save the industry one magazine at a time? Tell me about that passion in you that’s pushing you to do that…

John Mennell: I’ve learned in my life that one person can make a difference. I started very young in life. I got involved with hunger relief, I was running for public office and I came upon a food pantry that had no food. I tried to figure out the quickest way to fill the shelves. I was standing in front of a super market, I was standing there all day, and I collected 2,000 pounds of food. Every person can accomplish amazing things.

When it comes to magazines, and I’ve learned over these many years, magazines are especially powerful for literacy because there are magazines for every age level, there are magazines for every reading level and there are magazines for every interest. One of the most significant contributors to literacy and poverty is the lack of reading materials in the home. And actually children in poverty have no books at home and so we have a very simple and powerful idea. That is to put a magazine in the hands of a reader, to get magazines into hands at homes so that these readers can have the same wonderful experience that we have when we get our magazines.

The program resonates so well with people because magazines resonate with people from a very early age and then into adulthood. I still can’t pass a newsstand without stopping. When a magazine comes in the mail, I have a physical reaction of joy. Part of our project is to share that experience with individuals that would love to read magazines and have that same experience but don’t necessarily have ready access for a variety of reasons.

SH: Do you think you can do that on the digital front or do you still need the physical, printed magazine?

JM: Well, the printed magazines are so important. The experience of holding a printed magazine in your hand and reading it, the experience of finding some time and reading a print magazine is so valuable.

We serve at-risk readers in homeless and domestic violence shelters, foster children. These are individuals that have left everything behind and that physical magazine in a quiet moment can comfort them in a time of crisis. We get magazines into mentoring relationships. So if you can imagine an adult mentoring a child — they don’t know each other initially, they’re trying to get to know each other — and you can insert a magazine into that relationship either around a common interest or something that creates a common bond or a common interest between them you’ve not only provided a magazine but now you’ve strengthened an opportunity and created some value for that mentoring relationship.

We get magazines to adults in job training programs; so for example, because there are magazines for every area we can create tremendous value for the job training programs. For example, programs that benefit food pantries and food banks operate programs that train homeless and unemployed people to be chefs. What we’ve been told about cooking and culinary magazines is that it helps the student to learn contemporary presentation skills and preparation skills. So it can give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

So it’s an example where the magazine is just creating tremendous value even outside the experience of reading. This is not an experience that you can replicate with the digital or electronic equipment or format.

SH: Recently you had your very first campaign with a food, Whole Foods. How was that?

JM: That’s actually planned for April 12th and 13th. That’s Earth Month. We want to ultimately engage every participant in the magazine publishing supply chain. This is the first and only global magazine industry-wide literacy project and every player has a role. And we want to find magazines at every source and plug them into our program.

Ultimately we would like to marry magazine publishing supply chain to the food banks supply chain. If you could imagine the ability to move magazines directly from where they are in publishing warehouses and directly to food bank warehouses where they can be distributed via hundreds of agencies into the hands and homes of thousands of children and families — what a powerful notion that would be.

Currently we are sending new and recycled magazines to readers via literacy programs. We get the new magazines primarily via corporate sponsorship and then purchase new magazine subscriptions.

For example, Prince Sports sent 200 tennis and Smash magazines to children in a mentoring program in Boston. Foster Printing, for three years, sent 800 magazines to children in the College Mentorship Kid’s program throughout the state of Indiana.

We collect magazines from consumers across the country. We have teams across the country that collect recycled magazines but we want to start collecting them from throughout the supply chain. Condè Nast, for example, just sent us magazines. We want to get magazines off the newsstand, that’s an enormous goal that we have. In the same way that we’ve conducted food drives, we want to conduct magazine drives straight off the newsstand as a way of engaging consumers in our program to motivate them to find the newsstand, to find the magazines that we like to share with our readers, to purchase them at the newsstand and the point of sale.

We are scheduled to do that April 12th and 13th at a Whole Foods store. It will be our first drive with Whole Foods and our goal is to clear the shelves of all the magazines, to distribute them via a food pantry, mentoring programs, etc. But we can do that in every community and at every newsstand. It’s just a matter of being able to reach out to the industry and working with them in partnership so that we can have access to those magazines and motivate consumers and engage them to purchase them so we can supply them to our program.

SH: What is the major obstacle in making this dream come true?

JM: It’s not that there are obstacles, but there is a really important opportunity that we need to address. We can only grow 100 percent of the financial support that we get from consumers and businesses and it’s spent to deliver magazines, whether they are new magazines or recycled magazines, we have the shipping/delivery of the recycled magazines. We spend zero dollars of those donations or investments on our operating expense.

So our greatest challenge right now is to build up our operations so that we can grow and reach more readers and get more magazines to more readers. In order to do that, we need to stand up stronger operations, stronger technology.

For example, we want to create a global online marketplace that would essentially fill needs from literacy programs with our magazines and consumers funding those magazines for delivery for the literacy programs.

But we cannot achieve that kind of level of technology without getting the entire industry behind the project. Austin Kiplinger at the start of our project invested funds and we need other publishers in the same way to be willing to participate in our program throughout the industry so that we can really make it an industry-wide celebration.

We just sent 2,000 magazines to the Inuit, north of the Arctic Circle, and we did this by organizing, sort of mobilizing grassroots volunteers, corporate support, publisher support, and we can replicate that same kind of activity to get magazines from anywhere to anywhere in the world. But we need to strengthen our operations in order to do that and we need to truly make this an industry-wide campaign in order to improve our operations and technology.

We just conducted a magazine drive for culinary magazines and a woman dropped off every issue of Gourmet Magazine back to 1969. We get calls from people who have precious magazine collections and they want to make those collections available to new readers.

So as an organization, that’s our objective. We know that people love magazines. We want to think of as many ways as we can to give them the opportunity to share their love for their favorite magazines with other readers, whether that means purchasing magazines for other readers or gift subscriptions that would go to a new reader or whether that means recycling their own magazines or whether that means finding a way literally to deliver every magazine that’s past its shelf life and being able to channel those invaluable publications into the literacy supply chain. That would create so much joy and economic value.

SH: My last question for you; what keeps John up at night?

JM: Actually, that’s a very good question. What keeps me up at night…honestly, I am long on community organizing experience, I am long on literacy experience, but I’m short on the magazine publishing industry.

As I said, we get a tremendous amount of support from the industry, but in order for us to get the kind of traction that we need and to do the kind of business development that we need, to reach out across the industry and to truly make this an industry-wide celebration, I need to find partners, full partners, to join with us and to help us understand what are the appropriate models for engagement.

And the only way that I can get this project to the next level is to find those partners and get the support that we need. And with that, we will change the lives of millions, millions of readers and millions of new readers but millions of current readers who love their magazines and love the idea of our program and love the idea of sharing their magazines with others.

SH: Thank you.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014.

Featured

Make literacy funding personal to change lives and the world for good

By John Mennell

Like food and water, literacy is essential for humans to thrive.

At MagLiteracy.org, we are blessed with so much generous support from thousands of donors and volunteers, and community leaders who make our mission possible. As I write this, I am $469 in to a $170 Facebook birthday fundraising campaign to support MagLiteracy.org.

I am sharing the details of this fundraiser to show a way you can bring in the much needed financial support that allows us to meet growing literacy needs. Whether it’s your birthday or any other idea that you have to inspire others to support your own MagLiteracy.org fundraising campaign, we appreciate every dollar you raise and gift to our literacy mission.

The people you know will support your fundraising if you support it yourself and tell your personal experiences. Here’s my story that I posted on Facebook.

With just $31 to go to top $500 in literacy support and the start of the last year of my youth a few days away, I want to send an enormous THANK YOU to everyone gifting their own $ to match my $17 monthly contributions. This is personal in the way we all have our own special projects, making your willingness to back MagLiteracy.org so very much appreciated. With your support we are doing so very much good in the world, and 100% of each dollar will put reading materials into the eager hands and homes of an at-risk reader who we would not otherwise be able to reach. 

My $17 is used to send magazines to a program in NYC serving all homeless families, and also to the Midtown Community Court, operated by the Center for Court Innovation, which runs a fatherhood program to encourage dads to read with their children, and other social service and workforce development programs, and even a community garden that is growing corn in an alley behind the court on W. 54th street. A program coordinator there asked for gardening magazines that we are sending. 

Your gift will support sending reading materials to programs like a Little Library at a community garden in a low income Salt Lake City neighborhood. Here is the request we received that we can now respond to:

Our community garden, the 4th East Community Garden, which is associated with Wasatch Community Gardens, has received a generous donation of a Little Free Library through their Impact Program, because we are in a low income area.  Our community garden is affiliated with the New Roots Program, a program that places refugees in community gardens as a way of community building and giving them a way to provide themselves with fresh produce.

The installation and continued usage of our Little Free Library has been a huge success! Local kids from one of the subsidized housing units next door actually exclaimed in excitement when we installed it!

It’s been way more popular than I ever could have imagined which is great! The need for books is clearly there! As the main steward for this little library, I’ve had a really tough time keeping it full of books. I slacked for a couple of weeks and came back to find it completely empty.

At this point, keeping the Little Library filled with books has become a financial burden on myself.

Community Garden Little Library Volunteer

At MagLiteracy.org, we know the experience of our literacy shelves in food pantries, and Little Libraries, and youth mentoring, and job training, and homeless, and domestic abuse, and child trafficking, and foster care programs, emptying faster than we can fill them. 

Thank you for the dollars you are sending to change lives and to change the world for good by promoting reading and literacy.

Visit MagLiteracy.org to donate funds and to contact us about your personal fundraising, so we can tell the world!

Thank you.

A long-time magazine literacy hero calls home

Today, we received a phone call at the Ohio Literacy Bank from Diane, who lives in a small Ohio town. She needed our mailing address. Diane has been buying copies of Highlights for Children and Taste of Home magazine, and more from her local newsstand every few months, recently over $80 worth of magazines, and shipping them to MagLiteracy.org to share her magazine love with kindred at-risk readers. She always includes a nice note, and wants to hear back that we received them. We guessed over time that Diane was not comfortable with email, and confirmed that with her today on the phone.

Diane hoped that the magazines were helpful and said that the culinary magazines might be good for job training. Of course, she was either reading our minds or our blog, because we know and sing from the highest mountains that this is the awesome power of print mags for literacy, with 7,000+ titles, to match specific literacy program goals. It’s why we send Wooden Boat magazines to the Rocking the Boat mentoring youth program in the Bronx.

We think it was the latter, because she also mentioned the time we airlifted magazines to Inuit schools north of the Arctic circle in the middle of a polar vortex. You’d have to dig deep into our blog for that.

We explained to Diane that her purchases were mission critical, because children’s magazines are in highest demand and shortest supply for our literacy deliveries – we currently have near zero.

Diane has been our hero for a long-time. We smile when iMAGining the thousands – hundreds of thousands more Diane’s out there, knowing that people like Diane may have had their own children and grandchildren age out of their magazine gifting, but that the population of millions of children and families we serve never age out.

The passion of these magazine and literacy lovers is so great, they will search until they find us and our mailing address, and they will keep renewing their magazine gift purchases, month after month, and year after year, to change lives for good.

Contact us to learn how you can gift your favorite magazines to MagLiteracy.org for literacy.

Literacy volunteers mark MLK Day with a weekend of service to reach thousands of readers, worldwide

Literacy is a light to brighten the lives of those in humanity’s dark corners. This weekend, an army of volunteers descended on the Ohio Literacy Bank and other places, to upcycle thousands of donated magazines to at risk readers reached via food banks, pantries, and schools in Ohio, a women’s homeless shelter in New York City, programs serving school children and families in Memphis, Mississippi, and Alabama, schools in central India, and a humanitarian organization in the Kashmir region.

Friday – volunteers transport thousands of donated magazine from Barnes & Noble stores to the Ohio Literacy Bank warehouse and to Ohio State student and service organizations for literacy sorting and packing. Daily shipments of recycled magazines arrive from consumers and publishers across the USA. Volunteers sorting magazines at home deliver finished bundles and pick up more to work on.

Saturday – volunteers swarm the Ohio Literacy Bank to sort magazines for home bundlers and literacy program deliveries across the region, and for shipping to USA literacy programs and overseas.

Sunday – home bundlers drop-off and pick up fresh supplies of magazines. An Ohio State Service sorority picks up boxes of magazines to pack for shipment to literacy programs.

Monday – MLK Day – Ohio State Students and service organizations kick-off sorting, packing, and shipping magazines to literacy programs for at-risk children and families.

Everything that matters begins with reading. With over 7,000 titles in the US alone, for every reading age, enthusiasm, professional aspiration, and language, and millions of donated copies available from newsstands, publishers, and consumers, that would otherwise be destroyed, magazines are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet.

Join us to iMAGine what’s possible and to change the world for good.

This remarkable literacy brigade is thriving at Ohio State University during the pandemic.

Reading our stories at MagLiteracy.org, you will see that young people wanting to make lasting change for good are the wind in our literacy sails.

Our first magazine recycling project was organized by a classroom of kindergarten students in San Francisco for children at a nearby homeless shelter.

This story is how Ohio State University student Sravya Patibandla has persevered through pandemic darkness to shine our literacy light for thousands of at-risk children and families when it’s needed now more than ever.

Ending poverty through literacy: New student organization and related not-for-profit seek volunteers | Department of English

As we get our literacy flywheel turning at the new Ohio Literacy Bank, like a food bank that feeds hungry minds, we are fueled by the passionate energy of so many young people, like Aya who helps to run our social media, and Aly who handles our communications with consumer literacy recyclers, and Jazmyne who organizes our media lists and homeless outreach, and the students at Reynoldsburg High School and others bundling magazines for delivery to new readers.

All this on the shoulders of young people lifting our efforts in Wisconsin, Toronto, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, across the USA, and around the world.

Reading is where it all begins and we are so very grateful and inspired by the young champions helping us to share the magazine love for literacy.

Thank you Atrium Corporation for elevating our literacy mission

Many thanks to the wonderful people who own and operate the Atrium Corporation warehouse in Johnstown Ohio. Their support has enabled us to launch our popup Ohio Literacy Bank. When we received word of a supply of over 100,000 children’s magazines, Atrium stepped up to receive the pallets and allow our volunteers, including their own staff and families, to sort the boxes for delivery to summer feeding and reading programs around Columbus, and from West Virginia to Detroit.

A mountain of kid’s magazines pops up in central Ohio just in time for summer feeding and reading

A gifted magazine sparks a memory of an early MagLiteracy.org mentor – Austin Kiplinger

By John Mennell

I opened a bin of magazines donated to our literacy project to find these two very special publications – Kiplinger Personal Finance and Highlights for Children High Five.

I was privileged to work with Austin Kiplinger in the early 80s, when he was the Chairman of my college Board of Directors and I was the head of our campus government.

We sat down about ten years later to discuss an idea to use magazines for literacy. Although Austin and his family built up a well known financial media house, he was a humble man, an old school journalist, and a philanthropist who cared especially about improving the lives of children and families around Washington DC and beyond.

I sat in his office that day listening to how much he loved children’s magazines like Highlights for Children.

A few years later, the Kiplinger family made the first financial investment of $2500 in our fledgling literacy idea in front of the Barnes & Noble newsstand in Alexandria VA.

So, it was especially memorable today to return to a newsstand at Barnes & Noble, and to find these among so many wonderful additions to our literacy inventory. More to come.

Moving magazines and comics down the last mile into the hands, homes, and hearts of eager readers for literacy

At one end of a twenty mile span of the 101 just north of Hollywood, there is a reader with a cherished collection of over 4,000 Marvel comic books who wants to share them – gift them – to new readers for literacy. He is a literacy superhero. At the other end is a teacher in a school near the border of East Los Angeles who wants to put these and other reading materials into the hands, homes, and hearts of students who literally have zero books at home. She and her colleagues who are answering this highest calling are literacy superheroes. Together, the consumer and the teacher are challenging us all to rise up to meet the challenge and the responsibility to bridge their enormous literacy opportunity to change lives for good.

We received this note today from Lindsey who helped lead the Florida network of hunger relief agencies and returned home to Alabama to create the CORE Store to provide teachers with much needed school supplies and reading materials.

Just wanted to say thanks to your donors! Our teacher picked these up today for his middle schoolers and we’re so excited to use them in a lesson. This is his first year teaching and these materials are helping him stock his classroom.

Lindsey, who also helped us connect pallets of National Wildlife Federation children’s magazines to the Florida foodbank network, and so many other community literacy leaders, represent the last mile of our literacy pipeline into eager hands, homes, and hearts. So, when we get a call about boxes of Trusted Media Brands Taste of Home culinary magazines in Milwaukee, or 200,000 Cricket Media magazines on a loading dock in Des Moines, or like many calls we’ve received from Highlights for Children, or Meredith, or Condé Nast, or Hearst, or National Geographic, or to pick-up monthly supplies of Columbus Monthly and other Dispatch portfolio magazines, or the dream we have to rescue every single expired retail newsstand copy from bookstores and grocery stores to give to at-risk readers, we can mobilize our teams and our industry partners, like Quad logistics, to do whatever it takes to rescue them to feed people hungry to read.

Lindsey’s CORE Store Literacy Newsstand is a model we are spreading to other communities. We’ve just set up a similar partnership with a community leader in Cleveland that will be receiving direct shipments from our consumers who love to share their favorite titles. Our local teams are delivering magazines via literacy newsstands in food pantries, youth mentoring, and job training programs in Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, Florida, California, Toronto, and a growing list of communities, coast to coast.

With titles for every age, interest, professional aspiration, and language, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet. Join us to iMAGine what’s possible and to change lives for good.

Marines bring the literacy fight against poverty

To the Marines and other service members and veterans who recycle their favorite magazines to MagLiteracy.org, thank you for your service.

Magazine enthusiasts gift their favorite titles, like these Marine Corp Gazette, Leatherneck, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and Marine Corp University Journals, to MagLiteracy.org for delivery to eager at-risk readers via our literacy newsstands in food pantries, homeless shelters, youth mentoring, STEM, job training, and other literacy programs. With titles for every age, interest, professional aspiration, and language, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet.

Among the new readers we reach are service members at veteran’s hospitals and overseas bases, and the too many who find our magazines at food pantries and homeless shelters. This is made possible by an army of volunteers who create a supply chain into the hands of readers. For example, Jacques A. Goldberg “Jag”, pictured below is high school senior and founder of Books4troops, who, with the support of his family provides books and magazines to military members on military bases, navy ships and VA Hospitals.

Jag is on the eastern Florida coast. We were offered two large supplies of magazines – one from a family on the west coast of Florida, and one from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) attending a trade show in Orlando. Like a perishable food rescue operation, kindred spirit Nick Vojnovic, the founder of the Little Greek Fresh Grill restaurant chain mobilized his team to rescue the Orlando magazines, while Jag and his parents drove the large loop to pick up the west coast supply, and then to meet up with the Orlando supply, and return to home base to pack and deliver the magazines.

Jag reports:

A large portion of the magazines were sent to the following military facilities:

Ann Arbor VA Medical Center – Ann Arbor, MI

United Seaman’s Service – (Military Base)

Chaplain Cvetkovski (Military Base)

… As well as other VA medical facilities in the the South Florida area.

Thank you Jag for your service, and thank you to the Little Greek team, and to the hundreds of unstoppable volunteers who step up to make our literacy happen, so we can change lives and the world for good.