by Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director
Considering all the challenges for the past fiscal year (July 1, 2019- June 30, 2020), BookSpring is doing remarkably well. This sense of accomplishment is reflected by those in the community with whom we are working. We received a modest Payroll Protection Program loan and several unplanned new grants, from The Powell Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, Impact Austin, Carmax, and local agencies that recognize we are doing something positive to help communities.
We believe that our work with parents and children is still of fundamental importance, even though people in low-socioeconomic classes are facing higher food and housing insecurity and greater health risks than the general public. Through BookSpring Delivered, the families we reach are providing visual evidence of their gratitude for the books they receive, and this strengthens our belief in the value of book distribution.
It’s really true when we say, “now, more than ever, books in the home matter.” In a practical and operational sense, we are working daily to improve methods and tools that can help families make the best choices from available information. Recently we partnered with the Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas to provide trustworthy health information to families in Spanish along with our book deliveries.
It is hard to believe that we’ve been living with the COVID-19 crisis since March 2020. While we didn’t achieve our original goals for the year, we were able to distribute 163,996 books to over 99,253 child attendees – far more than we expected when the crisis hit. We are particularly pleased that we were able to reach families in 94 zip codes in Central Texas, including many of the targeted areas we laid out in the Zip Code Project. We’re working harder, with more creativity and flexibility than ever before. Books may be the best medicine for our times! We hope that your family takes ample precautions to keep calm, healthy, and spend quality time together, putting down the screens, and cuddling up together with a good book.