by John Mennell
With magazines and comics provided by major publishers, consumers, and businesses, MagazineLiteracy.org has opened the largest free literacy marketplace in the world. This week, TIME Inc. delivered a crop of tens of thousands of timeless back issues that will be delivered to eager at-risk readers via food pantries, mentoring, job training, and other community literacy programs. This, along with 52,000 Highlights magazines on their way, and truckloads from Conde Nast, National Geographic, Hearst, and others are assembling into a mountain of reading materials for literacy at our new global operations center in New Jersey, just in time for the United Nation’s celebration of International Literacy Day and our birthday on September 8th.
Reading is where it all begins. Our moonshot is to feed every hungry reader on Earth, and support from publishers fuels our engines.
With titles for every interest and reading age, magazines and comics are the most powerful tools available for literacy. Large-scale partnerships with major publishers could not be more timely.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, poverty for U.S. children is rising to levels near 20 million kids.
We are all now familiar with the story of the boy who was reading mailbox advertising because he had no books at home. Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of children in poverty – over 12 million kids – live in homes with no books – a stunning statistic – we can fix that today.
Each night 35,000+ women, many who are moms with children, seek the safety of a domestic abuse shelter – we can comfort them tonight with a magazine.
We all know the powerful impact that magazines have had during our formative years as youth. There are over 1 million homeless students – we can give them hope for tomorrow by sharing the magazines we love around common interests.
A child unable to read is a child lost. Adults unable to read were once children who didn’t learn how. Recent studies confirm that reading materials at home significantly contribute to academic achievement.
Gleaning is when crops left on the vine and in the fields are harvested to feed people. MagazineLiteracy.org harvests magazines from throughout the entire magazine supply chain – from publishers to newsstands, to consumers and employees at businesses who love to read magazines and then conduct magazine drives to share them with new readers.
Thanks to so many champions and ambassadors – long-time friends like Bob Sauerberg and others at Conde Nast, and Joe Ripp and his team at TIME Inc., and Kent Johnson at Highlights, and Tom and Marilyn Edwards at Fun for Kidz, and Joel Quadracci at Quad/Graphics, and Laura Thompson at Sappi Paper, and Lisa Scott at the PBAA, and Mary Berner and Nina Link before her at the MPA, and Austin Kiplinger, and Linda Ruth, and Samir Husni, and Doug Forrestal, and Greg Barber, and Hervey Evans, and Melanie Spencer-Ayar, and Rex Hammock, who wrote the very first blog article about our project, and so many others, we are blessed by increasing awareness and support across the entire publishing media industry. We want to tap every available channel to inspire kindred spirits coast to coast and around the world by:
telling our amazing stories in print and digital articles
deploying newsstand and gift circulation promotions to engage consumers to share new magazines for literacy – our reader populations don’t age out.
publishing industry-wide PSA display and digital ad campaigns to fire up literacy agents in every community on Earth.
Our industry-wide literacy campaign resonates passionately with everyone who loves magazines. With titles for every reading age and interest, magazines are the most powerful literacy resources on the planet. Industry support enables us to get favorite magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of tens of millions of at-risk children, teens, and adults who are eager to learn and love to read.
When we join together to iMAGine the change we want to see in the world, we make it so – this is our mantra, and we need everyone from the mailroom to the board room – everyone who has ever loved to write, edit, publish, deliver, and read magazines – to believe and to be onboard.
Special thanks to our amazing team of iMAGineers coast-to-coast and ambassadors in communities around the globe – especially to Phani and team who keep our Madison
operations humming, and to Lorraine and Collin who have opened their hearts and our doors in Hamilton NJ to welcome incoming truckloads of beautiful magazines and comics for new readers.
Join us to iMAGine what’s possible, and make it so.