Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive creates opportunity for corporate, community philanthropy

Every May, Southwest Human Development’s Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive helps provide books to young children in low-income Arizona communities. For companies and community volunteer organizations, Grow A Reader is an opportunity to support a charitable initiative and have fun while you’re doing it!

With many people still working from home, organizations can support the early literacy initiative by promoting their own customized Grow A Reader online shopping cart — complete with the organization’s logo and message of support. By purchasing books through the online shopping cart, employees or members can plant the seed to help a child develop a lifelong love for reading.

Grow A Reader partners have many options for promoting their virtual book drives, including virtual and physically-distanced implementation options. In addition to the virtual book drive donation cart, Southwest Human Development will also provide partners with an engagement toolkit that includes:

  • Weekly email templates — No one likes writing emails, so we make it easy with templates you can copy and paste.
  • Social media — Share the important work you’re doing with customized social media graphics and sample copy for captions.
  • Virtual backgrounds — Promote the virtual book drive in Zoom meetings with children’s-book-themed virtual backgrounds.
  • Virtual contest ideas — Compete against your colleagues to see who can raise the most funds.
  • Ice breakers — We’ll provide team-building activities like dressing up as your favorite story character, sharing book quotes and more.

“Families who have been hit hard by the pandemic are already struggling to make ends meet. Literacy materials are an expense that’s just not possible for these families right now,” says Jake Adams, chief development officer at Southwest Human Development. “Grow A Reader is an opportunity for organizations in our community to come together and support the literacy and development of kids who might not have access to books.”

There are some awesome incentives for Grow A Reader partners!

For every $1000 your team raises, you will be eligible for a facilitated team-builder event of your choice — Little Free Library Build or Reading Buddies — for up to 10 people. Little Free Libraries are “take one, leave one” book stations that allow young children in local communities to have easy access to books, regardless of their financial situation. The Little Free Library Build experience will include all materials and supplies to build and decorate libraries as well as staff to guide your team through the exercise and placement in a community where books are most needed. Reading Buddies are huggable stuffed animals given to children in our literacy programs so that they have a friend with whom they can practice their reading skills. Groups who build Reading Buddies together will receive all supplies to choose an animal, fill it with stuffing, create a birth certificate, and decorate its traveling case and a “passport” where they will write a letter from the animal to the child.

If you have questions or your business or organization is interested in joining the Grow A Reader campaign, contact Annette Sutfin at (602) 633-8416 or