Young professional males love to read magazines as much as their moms

Loogootee Elementary

by John Mennell
Once a month, we hold a “First Sunday” magazine bundling event in our office to sort and create packages of recycled magazines for our literacy marketplace. I recently made the tactical error of starting off a welcoming pitch to a group of college students with a reference to CDs – not the financial kind – which turned a phalanx of eager volunteers into a sea of blank stares – tough crowd.

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So, you make magazines live again

by John Mennell

So, you make magazines live again!

                 – A new reader and friend

Eight months ago I wrote a post about encountering a stranger in the street and vowed to know his name. Yesterday, within fifteen minutes of picking up bundles of recycled magazines for literacy from the post office, we had not only met again, exchanged names and laughs, but we found a common bond around a set of magazines I left with him to own and to read. I explained our literacy project to this man and he said “you make magazines live again.”
We know that magazines are special and enormously powerful for literacy. As experienced first-hand today, a magazine can help to foster conversation and laughter and forge a bond around common interests. This is why they are so valuable for children and teens in mentoring and tutoring programs. A magazine can be a rich possession for a child or mom in a domestic violence shelter or homeless person, or a foster child taken suddenly from everything they know and own.
Join us to change the world, one magazine, one new reader, one friend at a time.

Poverty is big, but you are bigger – empty this Whole Foods newsstand for literacy

Whole Foods Magazine Drive
Whole Foods Magazine Harvest

by John Mennell
We’ve just secured our first newsstand magazine drive at a Whole Foods scheduled for Earth Month from store open to close on Saturday April 12th and Sunday April 13th in Madison, WI. Every wave begins with a ripple, every forest a seed – our goal is to mobilize shoppers to clear every magazine copy for delivery to readers via literacy programs – and then to replicate the Magazine Harvest coast-to-coast.

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With precious magazines paid forward, we are rebels with tat mags and a cause

cover - Hello
cover Kiplinger's Personal Finance
cover - WoodenBoat

Andy and Craig were taken from their friends and families too soon and unexpectedly to make any sense.  Their soul mates – Tiffany and Carol – have payed their precious magazine collections forward to fuel literacy and self-esteem for at-risk readers, and to inspire a new generation of kindred spirits – READy for life!
Craig was an avid reader of car and aviation magazines who “received his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.” Craig’s wife Carol, who gifted Craig’s collection of thousands of magazines to for new readers, told us, “I was really glad not to have them relegated to recycling and hope they will spur someone’s interest in cars or planes or history.”

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Shine United ad agency reads & recycles magazines for literacy extending supply chain reach

Welcome to Shine United – one part ad agency, one part digital shop, one part nitrous-burning Chevy Nova with the pedal to the floor. At Shine, our thinking is bold, our ideas fresh, and our creative not for those in pursuit of the status quo.

Shine United likes to shake things up. This week they are sharing the magazine love by reading, then recycling magazines from their ad agency into our literacy pipeline – helping to achieve our dream marriage between the magazine industry supply chain end-to-end – and our global humanitarian supply chain.
We know that people love to read and to share their magazines – especially for literacy. We also know that magazines are enormously powerful for literacy and that getting reading materials into homes can disrupt poverty.  The excellent quality magazines provided by Shine will be sent to new readers in homeless and domestic violence shelters, mentoring and job training programs, foster care, and into hands and homes via food banks and food pantries.  We look forward to learning lessons from this new partnership so that we can engage other partners, nationwide and around the world to replicate this wonderful idea.

Share our Kitchen Gallery culinary magazine drive poster

Please share our Kitchen Gallery Culinary Magazine Drive poster and contact us to collect new and recycled magazines at your shop for literacy.
Learn more about the Kitchen Gallery magazine collection for literacy.

Event Poster
Event Poster


Kitchen Gallery harvests delicious culinary magazines for hungry readers

The Kitchen Gallery

We celebrate our love in February. Ring the dinner bell and light the candles! We’ve cooked up an idea with the Kitchen Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin that we can serve up with any shop on every Main St. and every bookstore, grocery store, and airport newsstand in America.  A magazine harvest that connects a shop with its community and the patrons who love to read and share their favorite magazines as gifts for literacy. Consumers want to support literacy and job training and love that it is so easy and convenient to share magazine gifts at their favorite local shops.

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Beloit College Center for Entrepreneurship hosts Distrupt Poverty talk

Our literacy journey continued last night with this Disrupt Poverty talk at the amazing Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education in Beloit (CELEB).  This tech start-up, art, media, maker, co-working space is staffed by a group of passionate young entrepreneurs and stocked with state-of-the-art equipment to rock our world – in a good way.

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Bendyworks kicks-off design of MagPower Magazine Literacy Marketplace

Today we had the great pleasure and privilege to spend the day with the awesomely talented Steve, Mic, Rachel, Matt, and Jon from Bendyworks – a world renowned agile software development shop in Madison, WI – to kick-off the design of our online Magazine Literacy Marketplace. When completed, this crowdfunded global marketplace will allow consumers and businesses to support literacy needs anywhere in the world with the new and recycled magazines that they love to read and share. Join us at
Music: Bells by Michael Mennell

Bendyworks Designs Magazine Literacy Marketplace from on Vimeo.

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, 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

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 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.

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All aboard a high-speed literacy train powered by One Month Rails

Jem Walk

by John Mennell
Conceived twenty and incorporated ten years ago – 2014 is a watershed for – a time for renewal, reinvention and growth.  With titles for every age and interest, and arriving in hands, homes, and hearts every month of the year, magazines are especially powerful for literacy. We’ve been able to make this vision a reality with a growing army of volunteers – coast to coast, and around the world – and with generous media and technology support from literacy champions like Automattic (WordPress VIP), the Salesforce Foundation, Google for Non-profits, Shoplocket, CrowdSpring, TruScribe, Bendyworks, ENTP (Lighthouse), Crowdtilt (Crowdhoster), Sharetribe, and Balsamiq.

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How a two year-old nailed the power of magazines for literacy in four words

by John Mennell
Steve Blank – author of Four Steps to the Epiphany – is credited with launching the lean start-up movement, further evangelized by Eric Ries, Beth Kanter, and others.  A commandment of Blank’s “Customer Development” model is to “get out of the building” to discover, understand, and iterate toward the true nature of the relationship between your customers and your product or service.
At we have foundational ideas about the special and enormous power of magazines for literacy, validated by the many testimonials we receive from literacy programs.  The holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family and to “get out of the building” to experience reading with others first-hand.

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Consumers pay their favorite magazines forward for literacy

Consumers coast-to-coast are paying their favorite magazines forward by recycling them for literacy. Fully in the holiday and the recycling spirit, the magazines are arriving in every type of gift box imaginable, like this beautiful Vanity Fair magazine that arrived today with about 20 other gift magazines.
With titles for every age and interest, magazines are especially powerful for literacy. gets favorite new and recycled magazines from throughout the magazine supply chain to literacy programs for at-risk readers – moms, dads, and children in shelters, mentoring and job training programs, and foster care.
Pay your magazines forward for literacy. Read them and then recycle them to put the powerful gift of literacy into the homes, hands, and hearts of children and families hungry to read.

Thank you Urban Land Interests for bringing magazines for literacy home

Urban Land Interests – a force in Madison – are superheroes for providing us literacy logistics.
Thank you Urban Land Interests for helping to reshape our magazine recycling operations, so we can reach our full promise.

Magazines Deliver Holiday Gift of Literacy to Arctic Children and Families

Owlkids, Condé Nast answer Canadian family’s wish to deliver thousands of magazines to Inuit readers at the top of the world.

Nunavut, Canada — While Santa’s helpers ready good cheer for the globe, “Team Duffy” – Beth, Dan, and their two children Rachel and Eddie in Ontario, Canada have marshalled a continental response to airlift over 3,000 magazines and comics to Inuit children and families north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Canada for literacy.

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UW Theta Chi Kicks-off Madison Magazine Bundling for Literacy

Thank you to Sherri, our Volunteer Coordinator, and the members of the University of Wisconsin Theta Chi Fraternity – Sam, Joe, Karsten, Jack, Alec, and Eric – who sorted and created 14 recycled magazine bundles for literacy. Theta Chi has a strong tradition of philanthropy in the Madison community.  The group gathered at the first of our monthly “First Sunday” magazine bundling events organized to sort and package magazines for posting in our online Magazine Literacy Marketplace.  The bundles of recycled magazines, donated by consumers and businesses coast-to-coast, will be delivered to literacy programs for at-risk readers – children and families in homeless and domestic violence shelters, mentoring and job training programs, hungry families fed by food pantries, and foster children.

400+ Comics Donated for the Arctic Airlift for Literacy

From November 5-15th, Westfield Comics joined forces with Magazine Literacy, Comics For Heroes and Reading With Pictures to collect comics in Madison, Wisconsin. As a part of the Arctic Airlift for Literacy, Westfield Comics customers donated 447 comics and 14 trade paperbacks which will be sent up to Inuit schools and families in Kugluktuk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk and Cambridge Bay, Canada.

Those who brought in comics were supportive of our efforts to collect reading materials, offering their thoughts on using comics as a literacy tool and how reading comics helped them develop reading skills when they were younger.
The donated titles include a variety of material with stories for younger children and teens, positive male and female superhero role models, and genres like sci-fi, fantasy and more.
Thanks to Westfield Comics and everyone who participated in sharing these exciting stories and literacy tools!

Journalist David Bornstein makes the case for solution storytelling

Please enjoy this TEDx talk by New York Times columnist and journalist David Bornstein, author of  How to Change the World and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know
Our vision at is to create a solution that extinguishes a primary cause of illiteracy, itself a root cause of poverty – the shortage of reading materials in the hands and homes of people who want to learn and love to read.  Our idea is to create a global literacy marketplace to deliver reading materials from people and businesses to new readers anywhere in the world.
Help us to tell our solution story, so we grow to reach more hands and homes with the wonderful magazines – and now comics – that make literacy happen. in a nutshell is the first and only global, magazine industry-wide literacy campaign for at-risk readers.
Freedom and prosperity depend on literacy.
Magazines are especially powerful literacy resources. gets new and recycled magazines to literacy programs for at-risk children, teens, and adults via the Magazine Literacy Marketplace, where:

  1. Literacy Programs register and define their literacy goals and magazine needs by reader, topic or title, quantity and frequency – then create literacy wish lists, and order new and recycled magazines for their readers.
  2. Magazine SuppliersVolunteers, consumers, and publishers supply recycled and new magazines to match Literacy Program needs, wish lists, and orders.
  3. Literacy Funders – individuals, groups, and businesses donate funds to get new and recycled magazines from Magazine Suppliers to Literacy Programs for at risk-readers.

100% of funds donated by Literacy Funders is used to delivery new and recycled magazines to Literacy Programs for at-risk readers.
Highly leveraged, lean operations are funded by industry angels and private donors. is a 501(c)(3) charity.
Join us.

Westfield Comics joins forces with Arctic Airlift for Literacy

Madison, WI— Westfield Comics,, Comics for Heroes, and Reading with Pictures are joining forces to collect comics for Inuit schools and families north of the Arctic Circle. The “Arctic Airlift for Literacy” will get comics donated by consumers at both of Westfield Comics’ locations, on Williamson St. and Mineral Point Rd. in Madison, Wisconsin, and send them to schools for Inuit families in Kugluktuk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk and Cambridge Bay, Canada.

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An industry voice sparks a global dialogue for magazine powered literacy

So, Mr. John Mennell, if you read this, I need your help. Yes, it’s not via email because other people who share your cause are bound to read this and share their own ideas. How will I start? What can I do now? Where can I turn to?


I love this blog post by Myta Santiago for so many reasons, but mainly because it lays down a gauntlet in the fight against illiteracy and opens a door for a global public dialogue for action. Myta is a magazine professional in the Philippines and a dedicated and passionate literacy advocate.

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Magazines are game changers for literacy

I am met with beaming smiles from the children and words of gratitude from the mothers on every delivery. A program director commented that ‘magazines are engaging, not intimidating, and the women love having the resource.’ The shelters have used the magazines to teach families about health and nutrition, finances, parenting, and positive images in the media.

see more feedback.

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Celebrate Children's Magazine Month in October

Feed children and families hungry to read. October is Children’s Magazine Month. We are celebrating by increasing our volunteer literacy force – coast to coast and beyond!
Join us. Share the magazine love!

Magazines flow for literacy at the River Food Pantry

River Newsstand

Magazines are flying off the shelves at this newsstand.
We’ve partnered with Dane County food pantries and today made our first magazine deliveries and set up a magazine newsstand at the River Food Pantry in time for 250+ families who arrived this evening for groceries and a hot meal.

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The difference between 0 and 1 is infinity.

The difference between 0 and 1 is infinity — the difference between doing nothing and doing something is immense — between talking and walking. Every journey, no matter how far or high begins with one step, followed by another. Before taking that step, you are going nowhere. After, you can go anywhere.
Walk with us. Do magazine literacy.