_full_excitedOn this #GivingTuesday, we wanted to share a story of an initiative we are thankful for and proud to be a part of.

First Book is a nonprofit organization that provides new books and educational resources – for free or at a low cost – to schools and programs serving children in need. Since 1992, First Book has provided 120 million new books to children from low-income families in the U.S. and Canada through a Book Bank and a discounted books repository. First Book also helps facilitate local Virtual Book Drives to raise money for new books for students in need.

This year we were fortunate enough to take part in a Virtual Book Drive in Somerset, Kentucky. Through the community’s generosity and the hard work of the local Blackboard team, we were able to donate more than 3500 books to seven elementary schools in Somerset. During the week before Thanksgiving, more than 30 Blackboard employees visited a local elementary school to sort, pack and hand out books with the help of the local principal, Somerset Superintendent Boyd Randolph, and Cynthia Rogers, wife of Kentucky Congressmen Hal Rogers. The reactions like the one expressed by the boy pictured above and all of the other students who received books that day made this a truly gratifying experience for all of us.  _full_img3838

So much so, in fact, that we are thrilled to be donating $55,000 to First Drive through our inaugural Charitable Giving Program. In the spirit of our company’s mission and vision, First Book will be using these funds to pilot a tablet program to help combine the powers of reading and technology to deliver books to children in need.

And even through the Virtual Book Drive is over, we encourage the educators in your community to register with First Book at to ensure that they know about any upcoming opportunities to receive books through First Book.

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