Our own social entrepreneur and founder, Kyle Zimmer, joined world leaders in Davos for the World Economic Forum last week. She presented an IdeasLab primer on the First Book Marketplace, in a session moderated by J. Gregory Dees, Professor, Practice of Social Entrepreneurship, Fuqua School of Business, Duke. Watch the presentation below and read more about Kyle’s inspiration for First Book after the jump.
Kyle’s mission is not to fight illiteracy but to end it. She began First Book in 1992 in Washington DC when she realized that children in low-income situations have little or no access to books or reading material. In fact, studies show that in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books to children is 13 to one, but in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 book for every 300 children.
According to esteemed researcher, Susan Neuman, Ph.D. University of Michigan, “Access to books and educational material is the single biggest barrier to literacy development in the United States and beyond. If we can solve the problem of access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity – a goal which has eluded this country for generations.”
The First Book Marketplace (FBMP) is designed to aggregate an untapped market to provide a steady stream of high-quality books at an affordable price for the first time ever to programs serving children in low-income situations, revolutionizing the way teachers and program leaders can educate these underserved children. At scale, the FBMP becomes self-sustainable and poised to deliver educational books and materials, including digital resources, globally.
Kyle didn’t rest after she found one way to deliver millions of books to children in need through the First Book National Book Bank; she created a true social innovation in the First Book Marketplace and she aims to deliver access to educational resources to the world.
We congratulate Kyle on her success at the World Economic Forum and on delivering nearly 70 million books to children in need.