First Book

First Book Press Releases

Local Business Leaders Launch Campaign to Support More Educational Resources for Schools and Programs in St. Louis Area


ST. LOUIS, April 2, 2015 ­ Nearly half a million brand-new books are making their way into the hands of kids from low-income families this week thanks to the nonprofit social enterprise First Book. Nearly 155,000 books will be provided to local children.

Staff from First Book along with representatives from the Minority Business Development Agency-St Louis (MBDA - St. Louis), The National Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship (NIYE), TD4 Electrical, the Ferguson-Florissant School District, and the local community are distributing the books this week from the TD4 Electrical, LLC warehouse. Area schools and programs serving children in need will receive 155,000 books; the rest of the books are being shipped to schools and programs serving children in need across the country. Educators and program leaders throughout the country were able to respond to an announcement earlier this year and registered to receive books.

More than 32 million children in the United States are growing up in low-income families, and in their communities, there is often a lack of books and educational resources. In one study, researchers found just 33 books for 10,000 children in a low-income community.

Based in Washington, D.C., First Book provides books and other critical educational resources to the classrooms and communities serving kids in need.

"First Book is committed to ensuring all kids have access to best-in-class books and educational resources," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "We're thrilled to hold hands with the MBDA – St. Louis, NIYE, TD4 Electrical, the Ferguson-Florissant School District, and the thousands of local schools and programs we serve so that children from low-income families here and across the country have the tools they need to read, learn and succeed."

The new books, which include 93 titles for children ages zero to 18, were donated by Disney Publishing Worldwide and Random House, which provide millions of new books to kids in need every year through First Book. Educators and programs serving children in need reviewed the list of books available and were able to select the titles that best meet the reading interests and needs of the children they serve.

"This collaboration is a national model of public/private partnerships," said Charles Henson, project director at MBDA – St. Louis. "When business leaders like Tommy Davis of TD4 Electrical recognize the advantages of investing in education and our kids—families are stronger, communities are stronger and tomorrow's workforce pipeline is stronger. We are proud to facilitate the connection of a world class nonprofit like First Book with these influential community partners in St. Louis."

St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, Davis, Henson, and Veronica Creech, a senior director at First Book, hosted a news conference at TD4 Electrical's warehouse Thursday morning, where teachers and program representatives were stopping by to pick up books.

"A child's first book encourages them to think, learn, dream, and be creative," said Mayor Slay. "I want to thank TD4, the St. Louis Minority Business Development Agency, and First Book for the work they are doing to help ensure that all St. Louis children have ongoing access to the power of books, starting from their earliest years and continuing throughout their lives."

In addition, Henson announced the launch of a campaign to raise $5,000 or more, inviting business leaders and community members to contribute. All funds donated will be used to supply more books and educational resources to area schools and programs serving children in need. The St. Louis Virtual Book Drive can be found at

Schools and programs working with children in need can sign up to access low-cost and free books and educational resources from First Book at

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter. If you serve children in need and are interested in these or other First Book resources, please sign up with First Book at

About Minority Business Development Agency – St. Louis Business Center

The MBDA under the Department of Commerce is the only Federal Agency with the sole objective of Growth and Development of Minority Owned Business in the United States. The MBDA firmly believes that Community & Business Development starts with Education and, proudly supports the efforts of all entities working with our Youth. There are 44 Business Centers around the country like the one here in St Louis serving the needs of some of the most successful, innovative minority owned businesses in the Country.

About TD4 Electrical, LLC

TD4 Electrical, LLC (TD4) is the St. Louis area's premier minority-owned electrical construction services provider. It has been certified as a Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) by the St. Louis Minority Development Council and the St. Louis Airport Authority. Founded in 2006 by President Tommy L. Davis, Jr., TD4 provides the full array of high quality electrical contracting services.

About NIYE

The National Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship (NIYE) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship education and financial literacy. In 2005 Chairman and CEO Michael Liddell founded NIYE in order to develop and implement experiential programs for students ages 13 to 18. NIYE's mission to teach the entrepreneurial mindset to students from underserved communities continue to create productive leaders that make positive contributions to the economy.

About the Ferguson-Florissant School District

The Ferguson-Florissant School District, located in suburban St. Louis, serves more than 11,000 students from preschool through 12th grade with an excellent comprehensive educational program. Fully accredited by the state of Missouri, the Ferguson-Florissant School District operates 17 elementary schools, three middle schools, three A+ and AdvancED-accredited high schools and an alternative school. In addition, the District includes a nationally-recognized early education program, the award-winning Challenger Learning Center space education facility and the Little Creek Nature Area, a 97-acre nature preserve which offers experiential learning opportunities for students in science, biology, ecology and related areas of study.