| December 9, 2012

Close, But….


So who won the Chase American Given Awards? We know that’s a question many of you have been asking the last couple of days. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Worldreader.

More Than Me Foundation, which aims to get young girls off the street and into schools in Liberia, West Africa, took home the $1 million grand prize. The organization was in our Education and Mentors category, and we’re glad so many votes went in that direction. It sends a strong message about how education has the power to change the world. We send our sincere congratulations to More Than Me. They inspire us!

The other winners in the four other categories were: Krochet Kids International for the $500,000 prize; Timmy Global Health for the $250,000 award, and Team Rubicon and Together We Rise each won $125,000. We raise a glass to them, too!

Are we disappointed? Yes, of course — momentarily, but only momentarily. We were up against awesome organizations that all deserve a round of applause — and $1 million. The work all the finalists are doing is nothing short of incredible.

Again, though, we are grateful for the opportunity to have competed for such a prestigious award, and appreciate the tremendous global effort that was mounted among our team and partners and within our Worldreader community. Like we said before, THANK YOU for your support.

At the end of the day, though, there is too much work yet to be done to wallow in disappointment. Many more kids, families and schools on the planet are waiting for their Kindles and e-books. Even though we lost Chase, we won on a huge level. Here’s how:

  • This was one of our biggest undertakings to date, and the collaborative team spirit across the U.S., Europe and Africa helped us rise to the challenge.
  • We were one of 25 organizations chosen from a long list of people making a difference in the world. (Nice!)
  • We were one of the youngest organizations competing for this year’s awards.
  • We went from 3,000 Facebook fans to nearly 35,000 in one week (isn’t that almost unheard of in the nonprofit world?), and now we’re looking forward to building stronger ties with that community.
  • We won a surprise $5,000 from Chase for being part of a team who generated ideas on how the competition can be improved next year.
  • It was a learning experience from start to finish – from strategy development to social media community-building to worldwide awareness-creation. We pride ourselves in being a learning organization and the lessons learned from this will be carried forward, every day, in many ways.

Truth is, too, we’re just only getting started and the Books For All mission is only beginning to take hold. 2012 has proven to be a big year for us. We forged new partnerships (for example, Futbol Club Barcelona), strengthened ties with many international and African publishers and authors, and, to date, have delivered more than 200,000 books to children in Africa. In the next couple of weeks on this blog, we’ll highlight our expansion into Rwanda and Tanzania and talk about a new project in Kenya, our East African hub. And, we’ll have news about Amazon donating children’s books to Worldreader for every Children’s Publishing book purchased this holiday season.

And, just wait until 2013! It promises to be another milestone year for Worldreader.

Thank you, Chase Bank, and congratulations to all us for proving that literacy and e-books will change lives far and wide.