DC Public Library Foundation Receives Donation From Jeff Bezos

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DC Public Library Foundation Receives Donation From Jeff Bezos

Largest-ever donation to the foundation will support new reading and literacy program for DC children

The DC Public Library Foundation (DCPLF) today announced that it has received a donation from Jeff Bezos, Founder and Executive Chair of Amazon to support Beyond the Book, the extension of Books From Birth, one of the DC Public Library’s most important and beloved literacy programs for young children. Bezos’ $2.7 million donation is the largest ever received by the Foundation in its 35-year history.

Designed to improve the reading ability of children in Kindergarten through Third Grade, Beyond the Book provides children and their families with additional books, family literacy programs, and support for the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten. This important transition is a substantial milestone for children because third grade generally marks the transition in school from learning to read to reading to learn. Access to high-quality, early childhood programming and a print-rich environment are recognized as having positive impacts on children’s lives.

“Decades of research shows that early childhood is a critical time for brain development, and the support provided by programs like Beyond the Book give underserved children a leg up during this critical stage of life,” said Bezos. “Thank you to the DC Public Library Foundation for your 35 years of work investing in children across our nation’s capital—families throughout the community are grateful for your impact.”

DCPLF Executive Director, Rob Hartman, commented: “The Foundation is deeply honored by Mr. Bezos’ generosity. His gift—the largest ever received by the foundation—will make a real difference in the lives of children and families in the District of Columbia. Thanks to his donation, by extending the length and outreach of Beyond the Book to Grade Three, some of DC’s most vulnerable children will now receive a strong foundation for academic and life success. The Foundation is proud to have been the recipient of this significant donation and looks forward to the important impact it will have on childhood literacy and education in DC.”

Program recruitment for Beyond the Book will be open to all DC children with a focus on branch libraries located throughout the District of Columbia in neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income households or those neighborhoods surrounding schools with low academic achievement levels, thereby ensuring the program will serve DC’s children and families who will benefit the most.  

About the DC Public Library Foundation: For over 35 years, the DC Public Library Foundation has provided support to the DC Public Library system – enhancing the quality of programs and services offered by the library to DC residents of all ages.