Madison, WI— Marking the September 8th celebration of International Literacy Day, the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals and MagazineLiteracy.org have teamed to deliver 15,000 magazines to children and families in Madison and other Wisconsin communities via schools, mentoring, job training, shelters, and food pantries. Fueled by magazines from consumers and publishers, their Rise Up for Literacy campaign seeks 1 million magazines pledged for literacy nationwide by Earth Day 2015.
Over 275,000 magazines have already been received from Conde Nast, Hearst, Fun for Kidz, Highlights for Children, Cobblestone, Owl Kids, Madison Magazine, Comag Marketing Group, Method Home Products, Shine United, and Widen, and pledges from National Geographic, Active Interest Media, Sappi, It’s a Habit, and others. Realizing a long-time dream to marry the magazine and foodbank supply chains, hundreds of thousands of magazines are being distributed by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Long Island Cares in areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
In addition, 13,000 magazines have been delivered in Ohio by the Children’s Hunger Alliance, 2,000 magazines collected by the Duffy family in Canada have been sent by the Mid-Range and Purolator companies to Inuit children and families north of the Arctic Circle, and literacy volunteers are mobilizing magazine delivery coast-to-coast. In July, Tom and Marilyn Edwards, publisher and editor of Hopscotch for Girls, Boy’s Quest and Fun For Kidz sent 150,000 magazines to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, with funding from the Majeski Foundation, a long-time champion of literacy.
“With titles for every reading level and interest, magazines are the new face of literacy and enormously powerful, especially for reluctant readers,” said John Mennell, founder of MagazineLiteracy.org. “We need to reach millions more hungry to read,” he added.
“We were intrigued by John’s concept of using magazines to cultivate a culture of reading in our community,” said Nia Trammell, President of the Urban League of Madison Young Professionals. “Magazine reading can ignite one’s imagination. Magazines supply you with economic, political, social and cultural information to better understand the world around you. We are excited to work with MagazineLiteracy.org to get material out in the community for people of all ages, abilities and interests in an effort to promote a lifelong love of reading,” she added.
“Freedom and prosperity depend on literacy. A child unable to read is a child lost, unable to learn any subject. Adults unable to read were once children who didn’t learn how,” explains Mennell. “Our mission is to pay the beautiful magazines we love forward into hands, homes, and hearts to end poverty, and to empower readers to achieve their dreams,” he added.
At the same time that tens of millions of recyclable magazines are available for literacy throughout the magazine supply chain, Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of children in poverty have no books at home. The U.S. Dept. of Education reports there are over 1 million homeless students with over 1,000 in Madison alone. According to the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults and 1 in 5 high school graduates in the U.S. are unable to read – food labels, health instructions, job or home applications, or web pages. The American Academy of Pediatrics has prescribed immunizing kids against illiteracy.
With global operations in Madison, Wisconsin, MagazineLiteracy.org received early seed funding from Austin Kiplinger, the Majeski Foundation, Pretium Partners, and Foster Printing. Its first magazine recycling project was organized by a class of kindergarten children in San Francisco for children at a nearby shelter. The initiative is made possible by support from Google, Salesforce.com, Automattic, Greg Barber Co., Quint & Quint, Automattic, Bendyworks, TruScribe, Issuu, Urban Land Interests, Ryleco, Technoviz, Stuanchire Technologies, and Zapier.
“Imagine the reach possible by marshalling a magazine industry-wide response to literacy,” said Mennell. “We have the opportunity to extend the life and to multiply the value of every single magazine created. To reach our full promise, we need publishers and editors and every industry stakeholder to walk with us on this journey and to tell our stories to inspire all the citizens of the world to rise up for literacy,” said Mennell.
MagazineLiteracy.org is the first and only global, magazine industry-wide literacy campaign that gets new and recycled magazines to at-risk children and families via literacy programs, with community volunteers and crowdfunded by consumers and businesses via the online Magazine Literacy Marketplace.
The Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals is a volunteer auxiliary of community leaders ages 21-40 who work to empower communities and change lives through the Urban League Movement. The Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals chapter officially launched in 2012. Its purpose is to support the Urban League Movement through volunteerism, philanthropy and membership development.
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