WASHINGTON, April 27, 2016 – Today the Ms. Foundation for Women will honor Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, with the 2016 Peggy Charren/Free to Be Award, provided to individuals in media whose work contributes to breaking through gender and racial lines. The award will be presented by Marlo Thomas, Ms. Foundation co-founder and author of Free to Be You and Me, as part of the Ms. Foundation’s Gloria Awards. Named after Ms. Foundation co-founder Gloria Steinem, the Gloria Awards honor grassroots women activists, innovators and philanthropists who ignite policy and culture change on behalf of women, families and communities nationwide.
Zimmer co-founded First Book in 1992 as a nonprofit social enterprise to address a widespread social issue: the lack of books and educational resources for children growing up in low-income families, and the educators and programs that serve them. Since then, First Book has provided more than 145 million high quality, new books and learning materials for children in need ages 0 – 18, at the lowest costs possible and for free.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this recognition from the Ms. Foundation,” said Zimmer. “For decades Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas and others have modeled the power of collective action to break down barriers for women and families. This same model forms the foundation of First Book – as we work to unify the collective and economic power of heroic educators who are serving children in need in every imaginable setting – libraries, classrooms, homeless shelters, afterschool programs. With more than half of all U.S. children attending public schools growing up in low-income families, the demands on schools and educators is increasing. We are committed to focusing that collective power to fuel equal education and ensure that all children have equal opportunities to realize their full potential.”