GM Foundation: Press Release

The GM Foundation & First Book Partner to Bring Books to Michigan Youth

Partnership Kicks Off With Event Hosted by Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint Featuring Newbery Medal-Winning Author & Flint Native Christopher Paul Curtis

FLINT, Mich. – The GM Foundation is partnering with leading literacy nonprofit  First Book to bring books and a love of reading to Michigan youth. The partnership kicked off with an event in Flint for 400 youth hosted by the local  Boys & Girls Club and featured Flint native, Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery Award- winning author of “Bud, Not Buddy” and “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963.”

The event brought 800 books to area children and underscored the importance of keeping kids engaged, active and learning all summer. In the first six months of this year, First Book delivered 4,300 children’s books in Flint alone.

“Our work with First Book provides the perfect opportunity to support literacy at all grade levels,” said Sheri Marshall, assistant secretary, GM Foundation. “Events like these offer great ways for kids to get excited about reading in a fun and interactive environment.”

Research and reports examined by Reading Is Fundamental and Learning Point Associates show that children who have a collection of their own books have positive behavioral, educational and psychological outcomes. Since price is the number one barrier to book ownership, the Foundation gave each child two books to take home, including one written by Curtis.

“This year, First Book is celebrating its 20th anniversary and we are proud to have distributed nearly 100 million books to kids all over the country,” said Linda Roth Platt, First Book’s vice president of Development. “With support from the General Motors Foundation, we are able to bring the joy and value of reading to students in Flint.”

In addition to the book donations and reading event, the day also featured language arts and reading activities taught by the Flint Public Library, as well as activities led by Boys & Girls Club and teamGM Cares volunteers.

“The GM Foundation’s commitment to literacy and education aligns with our core mission to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens,” said James Gaskin, executive director, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint.

The kids met award-winning author Curtis, who spoke about the importance of reading and writing, noting how his love of both was influenced at an early age by his family members. As a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, Curtis returns to the university each year to host the Christopher Paul Curtis Writing Challenge, a program that invites every fourth-grade student in the area to participate in a creative writing challenge.

“As a Flint native, I am committed to sharing my lifelong love of reading and writing with the youth of this community,” said Curtis, whose books are published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. “Events dedicated to the benefits of reading are vital to kids in order to help cultivate their hunger and passion for learning.”
To support the Boy & Girls Club of Greater Flint with new, high quality books, please click  here.
 
About the GM Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit  www.gm.com/gmfoundation.

About First Book
First Book has provided more than 90 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit  www.firstbook.org or follow their latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Flint is a positive and safe place for all children, with special attention for those from challenged circumstances, to attend after school and during the summer. It costs only $10 per year for a child to become a member (assistance available), while the actual cost of providing service is about $350 per child. The difference is made up through grants, foundations, individual donors and support from corporate partners. The Boys & Girls Club provides programming to 1,500 local youngsters in five core areas: Sports, Fitness & Recreation, the Arts, Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career Development, and Health & Life Skills. For additional information on Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint please visit  www.bgclubflint.org.

About Random House Children’s Books
Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company’s website, Kids @ Random (www.randomhouse.com/kids) offers an array of activities, games and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company.

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CONTACT:
Maria Mainville
GM Foundation Communications
313-573-7794
maria.mainville@gm.com

Tom Wickham
General Motors Communications
248-707-9064
tom.wickham@gm.com