There once was a little girl named Maria who discovered not every kid in the world had books in every room of their house. In fact, she learned that some kids didn’t have any books in their home. Her heart was sad and told her this was an injustice, so she set out to do something about it. She was eight years old.
I learned of Maria’s story when I joined the board of Read Indeed, the children’s literacy nonprofit Maria founded that fateful day a decade earlier with help from her parents, her younger brother (who kinda helped but mostly sat on boxes of book and read books) and countless volunteers. It was 2019, and Maria was starting her first year of college and recently celebrated a Read Indeed milestone: Surpassing 3 million used and new books gifted to 1.5 million at-risk kids, serving all 50 states in America and 17 countries around the world. Taking over the reins of Read Indeed was her younger brother, Ryan, who had become much more helpful with day-to-day operations. The sibling duo knew for Read Indeed to grow beyond its current hands-on donation, collection, sorting, boxing and shipping operation, they would need to bring operations out of the warehouse and into the digital world.
In my role as a board member, I formed and led a website committee to find partners willing to donate their design services for evolving the brand. Along the way, I served as writer, web developer and t-shirt maker to help raise funds for books and promote the launch of the new website. With fully digital operations, Read Indeed is now able to convert every $1 donated into a new book for a kid. The story continues.