Reading and writing are essential to self-expression, creativity, and reaching your life goals. However, across the U.S., many people are illiterate or lack access to books.
This year, give the gift of words. We have found the best ways to support literacy with the following Literacy Nonprofit Organizations.
1. Word as Bond
Founded by two native Hoosiers, Word as Bond is a creative writing nonprofit serving writers in the Indianapolis area. Their goal is to empower people in the community and promote self-expression through writing.
Writers of all ages can find a home in Word as Bond, AKA WORD. Teens can apply for the Youth Writers Workshop, a series of free creative writing workshops held twice a month. WORD also conducts workshops at schools and community centers.
For artists and professionals, The Lab is a writer’s collective focusing on underrepresented voices in poetry, spoken word, fiction, songwriting, screenwriting, and multimedia.
WORD also has a local chapter for competing in Brave New Voices, an international slam poetry festival.
2. Story Pirates Changemakers
Changemakers is a nonprofit from Story Pirates, a New York and LA-based arts education company, which adapts writing by young people into live performances.
If you have kids, you might know Story Pirates for their podcasts, videos, and stage shows. Changemakers pairs teachers with artists to bring educational programming to schools across the country. Both a lesson and a performance, the goal is to engage students by teaching them narrative structure.
Story Pirates Changemakers knows that imagination is a serious business. It instills confidence in children by showing them kid-created content and bringing their words to life. By letting young people into the process, it shows them what’s possible through literacy.
3. National Novel Writing Month
National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo, is an annual event where writers challenge themselves to complete a novel in 30 days. It takes place online and is free to participate.
Since its founding, NaNoWriMo has launched many writing careers, even producing bestselling fiction like Water for Elephants and WOOL.
Writers say the best part about participating in NaNoWriMo is it transforms solo writing into a group activity. It also increases confidence in aspiring writers from all walks of life. They start the month with a bucket-list item—to write a book—and end with proof that they can reach their goals.
Today, NaNoWriMo has expanded into an online community, offering free resources to improve your craft and promote the written word. In this way, it’s both a write-a-thon and a nonprofit supporting literacy.
4. First Book
First Book is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that provides books and educational resources to low-income communities. Their goal is to remove the barriers to access that keep people in poverty.
In addition, First Book is a research aggregator and toolkit accelerator with an abundance of training materials and self-assessments for educators to use in their own practice.
5. Literacy Connects
Literacy Connects is a program serving both children and adults in Tuscon, Arizona. It was founded after a town hall meeting where members of the community agreed that literacy was key to improving outcomes in Tuscon.
One of their programs for children is Reach Out and Read, which partners with pediatric healthcare providers to encourage reading in the families they treat and send them home with books. They also provide adult learners with reading, writing and math tutoring, as well as English acquisition classes for immigrants.
6. Books for Keeps
Melaney Smith founded Books for Keeps when she learned about a little girl who wasn’t looking forward to summer because she loved to read but didn’t have any books at home.
What began as a grassroots effort, Books for Keeps has made waves in ending what’s known as “summer slide”—when a child’s access to books begins and ends at school.
Today, Books for Keeps closes this gap by visiting schools in Athens and other Georgia school districts with books to take home. Their work is supported by book drives, sales, and the “Bunco for Books” fundraiser.
With their local focus and research-based mission, Books for Keeps is an example of how one gesture can change a life.
How to Donate
Feeling inspired? You can support these nonprofits and more when you shop with Giving Assistant.
Just select the literacy nonprofit of your choice in your Giving Assistant account settings menu. Choose to share some or all of your cash back automatically.
If you need more help then you can see how to use Giving Assistant to shop online and donate to a nonprofit here.
If you haven’t already, download the Giving Assistant button cash back extension for your desktop browser.
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