NEW YORK CITY (August 23, 2019) – Pajama Program has been selected from among over 100 applicants to receive an award of $95,653.00 for new books that will expand Pajama Program’s mission. First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need, awarded the funds as part of its OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation, a program that will give more than $4.7 million in funding to distribute 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities in 33 U.S. states and territories.
Pajama Program will use the award to distribute the books, a key component to a comforting bedtime routine, to Community Partners in six states across the country that serve youth experiencing challenges beyond their control.
“First Book’s award is especially important to us because they prioritize diversity and inclusion in their literature,” explains Pajama Program’s Reading Center Manager, Chrissie Martinez, who oversees programming that reaches thousands of school-age children in New York City each year. “Over 99% of the children who come to our Reading Center are children of color. It is so important for children to be able to see people who look like them in books and stories. The children will now have the opportunity to choose from a wider selection of books that they might not have had access to before.”
Awardees are using the funding to select books and eBooks from the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.com), First Book’s award-winning eCommerce platform, that best meet the needs of the children they serve. Additional awards will be granted throughout 2019. First Book estimates the total value of the books distributed will be more than $12 million.
“We know that access to books and eBooks makes a significant difference in a child’s future success,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and cofounder. “Children do not thrive in deeply under-resourced environments and too many of the schools and programs have far too little. This deprivation has long-term consequences for the children, their families, their communities and our nation. This could not be more urgent. With the OMG Books Awards, First Book and Pajama Program are investing not only in the future of the kids we’re reaching, but in the overall wellbeing of our nation.”
Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational success in the United States. Research indicates that just the presence of books in the home improves educational outcomes, yet low-income communities across the U.S. are plagued by vast ‘book deserts’—with one community having only a single book per as many as 830 children. Additionally, members of the First Book Network, who exclusively serve kids in need, have indicated that without First Book, the children they serve would have access to very few books, if any at all. (References below).
Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources from First Book outside of OMG Books Awards at firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
About Pajama Program
Every night in America, too many children go to sleep uncertain of what tomorrow will bring, compromising their health, school performance, and emotional well-being. Pajama Program is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes and supports a comforting bedtime routine for children to help them thrive. Since 2001, we have provided over 6 million cozy pajamas and inspiring storybooks to children nationwide who are experiencing challenges beyond their control, as well as critical resources for caregivers to support children at bedtime. Through our network of 4,000 Community Partners, 60+ volunteer Chapter Presidents, and Reading Centers in New York and Atlanta, our goal is to create “good nights for good days” for all children, everywhere. Visit pajamaprogram.org for more information on how to get involved.
About First Book
First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through sustainable, market-driven models, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by making new, high-quality books and educational resources, including sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more, affordable to its member network of more than 400,000 registered educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more learning materials than any other program of its kind: 175 million books and educational resources, worth more than $1.5 billion, reaching more than 5 million children annually across the U.S. and Canada.
First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources.
 First Book Member Survey, 2016