Educational Institutions

Bookends

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • www.bookends.org

Mission Statement

BookEnds creaters readers and leaders.  BookEnds student volunteers organize book drives in their schools to recylce their quality children's books directly into the hands of kids in schools and youth organizations in desperate need of books.

Main Programs

  1. BookEnds BookDrives
  2. BookEnds BookDrives
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

BookEnds current program concentration is in the Greater Los Angeles area but we wish we could be in every community in our nation. Until we are, we are happy to support your leadership of a BookEnds Book Drive in your neighborhood. We have successfully worked with readers and leaders in all 50 states as well as internationally.

ruling year

2002

President since 1998

Self-reported

Ms. Robin M. Keefe

Keywords

Self-reported

Literacy, books, donations, education, community service, service learning, Los Angeles, library,

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EIN

31-1803232

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Voluntarism Promotion (T40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The National Assessment of Educational Progress reveals that 37% of U.S. fourth graders fail to achieve basic levels of reading achievement. The incidence of reading failure is even higher within low-income families, ethnic minority groups, and English-language learners. In the Greater Los Angeles area alone, 53% of working-age adults cannot read well enough to comprehend a bus schedule or fill out a job application. 
 
The first step in solving the illiteracy problem is ensuring that individuals have access to books. And that’s where BookEnds comes in.   To date, we have given away more than 2.7 million books.  Annually, more than 20,000 students volunteer for BookEnds by organizing BookEnds BookDrives in their schools.   Annually more than 150,000 books get recycled from home libraries directly into the hands of students in schools and to youth organizations in desperate need of books.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

BookEnds BookDrives

Annually, more than 20,000 students volunteer for BookEnds to donate approximately 210,000 books to nearly 43,000 at-risk students. Along the way, students discover their own power to change lives through community service, give unused books new life, create libraries and cross neighborhood boundaries all through sharing a book. Most of our book recipients are school children who qualify for Title I programs due to family poverty. Others include children we meet through youth-serving organizations who also need books to foster literacy, such as programs that help abused children or homeless youth.

Category

K-12 (5-19 years)

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 2

BookEnds BookDrives

Not available

Category

K-12 (5-19 years)

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    BookEnds’ mission is to build a literate and philanthropic community in which underserved neighborhoods break the link between illiteracy and poverty via the manpower of our youth. We believe that the most effective way to mitigate pressing social problems is to engage the community in the solution. Teaching youth to be the agents of change they want to see in the world is empowering and sets the stage for a lifetime of civic duty. BookEnds guides and facilitates a vibrant youth service movement that works to give every child in the Greater Los Angeles Area the books they need to achieve academically and have a chance at a bright future.

    BookEnds annual goals are to:

    1. Increase the initial book-to-student ratio at each school to a minimum of 5:1. On average, the classrooms of BookEnds recipient organizations average two or three books per student.

    2. Provide a minimum of 40,000 children each year with the books they need to learn to read and/or increase their literacy.

    3. Engage 20,000 student volunteers in meaningful community service that has real world results and fosters cross-cultural understanding.

    4. Leverage every $1 program investment into $5 worth of children’s books to fill empty library shelves and classrooms.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We have a multi-pronged and accompanying programming which help us achieve maximum impact.
    We conduct 4 different types of bookdrives:
    Classic BookEnds BookDrive
    BookEnds BookDrive Champions
    RARE* BookEnds BookDrive (*Reading and Reciprocity Empowers)
    Individual BookDonors

    Rooted in empirical research, BookEnds’ core “book flood” literacy strategy delivers powerful outcomes for students and teachers. While other programs focus on creating centralized school libraries, we found that state budget cuts resulted in the reduction of library hours or school library closures. Instead, BookEnds book floods create bountiful classroom-based libraries in underserved schools and youth organizations that allows teachers to manage their own collections that are grade and literacy-level appropriate and are more current than their school’s central libraries. Students can access the books at any time, a “luxury” that teacher’s report makes an enormous difference in their students’ reading achievement. Research has also shown that book flooding is a quicker and more effective way for English Language Learners to master literacy skills. This is especially encouraging for Greater Los Angeles, which educates the nation’s largest population of ESL students.

    Each “book flood” is the result of student-run BookDrives in which youth volunteers plan, market, organize, and execute a BookDrive (with the support and guidance of BookEnds program directors) to collect quality children’s books at their schools and personally deliver them to schools and youth organizations in need. We qualify schools and youth organizations with the dedicated staff in place that can actively use BookEnds donations to turn a child with a book into a reader. Crossing neighborhood boundaries, BookEnds student volunteers personally deliver the books, bringing the donor and recipient students together to learn about each other and forge friendships over the joy of reading.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    BookEnds BookDrives are powerful vehicles of change. Now in our 15th year, we have engaged over 310,000 students to donate 2.6 million books conservatively valued at over $21 million, serving more than 650,000 low-income students through 650+ BookDrives. BookEnds targets children with the greatest needs and the fewest resources.

    In the past year alone, BookEnds distributed 237,064 books. Stacked on top of each other, they would be 197,000 feet tall – almost seven Mount Everest’s! We drove 12,680 miles – half the circumference of the earth – to oversee the BookDrive collections and deliveries by the donor students. We reached 48,000 of the most underserved students in Los Angeles whose arms, if they formed a human chain, could encircle the perimeter of downtown Los Angeles.

    BookEnds President and Board Chair have a synergist relationship that has successfully powered the organization forward, even in the face of the economic crisis. The President has devoted her life to nonprofit service and is a lecturer in nonprofit management. The Board Chair is an executive at Teach for America, helping program alumni to become involved in creating positive systemic change in education, which inspires BookEnds to effect greater systemic change in our realm.

    BookEnds’ strategic partnerships are a key ingredient to our sustainability and impact. To widen our reach while keeping costs stationary, we have established partnerships with large nonprofits involved in literacy development.

    BookEnds is a thought leader among literacy and child advocacy groups in Los Angeles. BookEnds’ Associate Director has played a major role in the revival of the Children’s Literacy Coalition of Los Angeles, which is a diverse coalition of area businesses, nonprofits, community leaders, and government agencies dedicated to ensuring every child has the right to access high quality literacy opportunities at home, school, and in the community.

    In keeping with our mission of supporting philanthropic activity, BookEnds is involved with many groups that promote community leadership development, including the Junior League, Riordan Leadership Institute, African American Board Leadership Institute, the USC Marshall School of Business, and UCLA Anderson School of Management. BookEnds benefits from members’ involvement through internships, volunteer support, pro bono professional services, and more.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Without reading material at school or home, how do children develop the literacy skills that are necessary for a bright future? Our children need books. Research shows that the amount and quality of students’ access to reading materials is substantively related to the amount of reading they engage in, which in turn, is the most important determinant of reading achievement. When children are surrounded by books, the results are astounding: the Los Nietos School District in Whittier received a 5:1 ratio of books-to-students from BookEnds at the beginning of the school year; at years’ end, they reported an improvement in reading growth in 95% of students. BookEnds is a simple program that works!

    Michelle Diamond, Principal at Victory Elementary School in North Hollywood, recently wrote: “We have had 2 [BookEnds] distributions in the past two years, and at the same time, our reading and language scores have risen by 55 points… Thanks to BookEnds and the schools who shared with us. We are one lucky school!”

    In FY 2014-15, BookEnds’ goal is to donate 225,000 books to more than 40,000 underserved students by engaging 20,000+ volunteer students. In the process, our goal is to replicate the quantifiable objectives of our most recently completed program year:

    (1) >95% of recipient teachers report that their students read more since receiving books from BookEnds.

    (2) >95% of recipient teachers report that their students literacy skills improved as a result of BookEnds’ book flood.

    (3) >98% of youth volunteers enjoyed their experience and would recommend the program to their peers.

    BookEnds maintains a sophisticated database and invoicing system that tracks the outcomes of each BookDrive: the number of student volunteers engaged; the number of students receiving books; the number of quality children's books donated; the ratio of books to students; the number of libraries completed; and the dollar value of the donated books. BookEnds’ small staff of four are enmeshed daily in the progress towards meeting outcomes; progress reports are distributed monthly at Board meetings.

    Nonprofit partnerships provide valuable evaluation data that gauge BookEnds’ impact, as in the case of the Los Nietos School District.

    BookEnds partnered for three years with Dr. Scott Plunkett at CSUN to provide a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of our signature BookDrive program. Teachers and student volunteers are surveyed after each BookDrive to seek their input to inspire our continuous improvement and responsiveness.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The past year marks one of the most remarkable crossroads in our history. Honing our entrepreneurial spirit, BookEnds entered into a partnership with a for-profit reseller; of the record 263,000 books we collected this year, they donated 82,000. This allowed us to grow our book donations from 133,879 in FY 2012 – a 96% increase in one year! BookEnds teaches children to recycle books from their hands into the hands of others. We have connected communities that would otherwise remain unknown to each other and in doing so, delivered over 2.6 million books to needy students across Los Angeles, providing the essential resources so kids could read and thrive. Yet, as we pause to celebrate our achievements, there are still far too many empty bookshelves.

    In the hundreds of schools and organizations BookEnds serves, the average books-to-student ratio is 2:1 or 3:1; the national average is 22:1. In 2013, 60% of LA County 3rd graders scored at or below basic understanding levels for the statewide English-Language Arts section of the California Standards Test, significantly worse than 2012 in which the rate was 54%. Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of 3rd grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and reading proficiency is necessary to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in higher grades. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and negative social outcomes.

    It is necessary to strategically allocate our finite book resources to have the greatest effect. Historically, BookEnds has identified a roster of schools and youth organizations that have either actively sought out our program or whose administrators have been recommended by their colleagues. We qualify each school based upon applications and site visits to ascertain not only the need for books, but the commitment to turn a child with a book into a reader. Now, we are aligning ourselves with pioneering, large-scale educational partnerships that can extend our reach to serve the greatest number of children and offer the capacity to provide impact evaluation data.

    BookEnds works each day ever mindful that 8.6 million books are needed just to bring Los Angeles schools up to the national average ratio of books-to-students. BookEnds’ board and staff have spent the past year implementing a number of strategic new innovations to increase our reach without increasing our costs. This includes increasing our advocacy role, expanding our nonprofit partnerships, and embedding the idea of recycling the rich quantity of books that exist in the community already.
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

BookEnds current program concentration is in the Greater Los Angeles area but we wish we could be in every community in our nation. Until we are, we are happy to support your leadership of a BookEnds Book Drive in your neighborhood. We have successfully worked with readers and leaders in all 50 states as well as internationally.

Social Media

Funding Needs

BookEnds is a simple and economical solution to providing children with the essential literacy tool of books. Powered by our kids and leveraged by a simple business model, every $1 donated to BookEnds results in $5 worth of books for children. Annually more than 20,000 students volunteer for BookEnds. This community wide effort is lead by a terrifically lean staff of two program managers who train student teams at each of our donor organizations to leverage their leadership into impact. General support dollars are dedicated to paying the salaries of four full time staff members and the general operating costs associated with the operation of a well-run organization.

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External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

BOOKENDS
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Bookends

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President

Ms. Robin M. Keefe

BIO

Robin M. Keefe is the founder and President of BookEnds. As an acclaimed entrepreneurial philanthropist, Robin propelled the simple idea of her eight year old son into an effective solution to provide the essential resource of books for our neediest students to learn to read. She often says that Brandon’s gift to Hollygrove created the seed for BookEnds and created the bounty for her life. She is grateful and appreciative to have the opportunity to improve our community through BookEnds. Since1998, through Robin’s leadership more than one half million children have learned the power of community service through the donation of 2.6 million books to 300,000 Los Angeles students.
As a community leader, Robin inspired effective partnerships with corporate leaders such as American Express, Amgen, Boeing, JP Morgan Chase, Nestle and Verizon to focus their resources on providing books for the most educationally underserved students. Robin is a community builder, creating innovative partnerships with diverse organizations such as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Unified School District, Target, UCLA, Pepperdine University and Los Angeles Rotary Clubs to unite the community’s finite resources to fight for literacy development. Among her numerous honors are the Freeman Freeman and Smiley Vision in Philanthropy Award for Entrepreneurial Philanthropy, the Media One Spine Award for “having the backbone to champion a great idea,” the 2006 Los Angeles Children’s Planning Commission “Leading Boldly Award,” and the November 2006 Woman’s Day Award for “Woman Who Inspire Us.”

Robin is a proud Rotarian, a past member of the Los Angeles Organization of Women Executives and a teacher of nonprofit management at Pepperdine University. She graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Finance.

STATEMENT FROM THE President

"BookEnds is built upon a powerful belief in our children: A belief that all children should grow up not only with abundant love, food and care but surrounded by the limitless literacy possibilities books provide. We also believe that our children need to be given the opportunity to learn to assist others.
BookEnds is built upon a belief in literacy: A literate child can grow into a fully participating and engaged member of the community, adding to the diversity and validity of our society.

BookEnds is built upon a belief in the power of economy: Driven by our children, BookEnds simple business model transforms every $100 into $500 worth of books.

BookEnds is built upon a belief in our community: BookEnds is a testimony to the significant impact that a simple group of committed people can make.

BookEnds is built upon the belief in sufficiency: It is not that we need to purchase more books we simply need to recycle our books into the hands of children who do not have adequate books to develop literacy skills and to engage and inspire them with a love of reading.

BookEnds is built upon a simple idea that works."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Naya E Bloom

Teach for America

Term: July 2012 - July 2013

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?