Every day I witnessed the impact on children of BookEnds simple and effective program.
As we scaled up our organization, I saw my vision turn into a movement: now, just as we have all learned to recycle our bottles and cans, we have also learned to recycle our books, raising a new generation of children who will economically provide the critical resource of books to all.
We scaled incredible heights: More than 300,000 young students volunteered for BookEnds, donating books to more than 700,000 recipient students in 660 schools and youth organizations.
One of our very creative staff members calculated that if BookEnds’ recipient students stood on top of each other’s shoulders, they would surpass the height of nine Kilimanjaro’s....annually!
How great is that!
But the challenge to continue to secure revenue to support BookEnds, amidst an ever-escalating demand for funds to support so many essential community services, caused us to pause and rethink our operations. We realized that there were great financial economies that could be reached by allowing our BookDrive and BookDonation programs to exist under the umbrellas of exisiting literacy organizations. Ironically, this became the best future course to accomplish our mission.
And so it is with a bit of a heavy heart, but with courage and great expectation that we turn over the leadership of the BookEnds BookDrive program in Los Angeles to Milk + Bookies. Book donations of gently used children’s books will be carefully stewarded to schools and non profit organizations by Big Sunday. And new book donations will be gratefully accepted by our literacy colleagues at Reading is Fundamental. We would love for you to continue the legacy of BookEnds through your continued financial support of these organizations. Thank you!
Many, many wonderful people have been key to guiding the direction and impact of BookEnds. There are too many to personally name here, but I am hopeful that you know who you are and feel our deepest appreciation.
But there are four groups of people that I would like to single out for recognition: BookEnds board of directors, our staff and the community of foundation and corporate supporters. My sincerest appreciation to the sixty-seven community leaders who over the years provided the critical guidance and strategic vision for BookEnds; our staff of eager and learned professionals who drove our program to excellence; and our foundation and corporate donors who believed in the impact of a simple idea. My great gratitude is deeply heartfelt.
Tomorrow I will be out one last time, coordinating twenty-five young students as they personally deliver their books into the empty hands of children not too far from their own neighborhoods. And once again, it will be magical, as children unite through the universal language of sharing a book. It is wonderful to know that the tradition and the journey will continue.
Thank you for the joy of having each of you in my life. I look forward to having our paths cross again, ideally very soon.
Robin M. Keefe
President and Founder
December 15, 2014