MagazineLiteracy.org

Join us to end illiteracy and poverty.

MagazineLiteracy.org – Who, What, Where, When, Why

by John Mennell

Magazine publishing stakeholders in every corner have been supportive of our program, but our goal is to create a complete industry-wide celebration – representing every person and every company in the supply chain, from the board room to mail room,  from publisher to consumer, printer to paper company – ad men and women, editors, and circulation pros, and association leaders and members. We need that support to achieve our full promise – delivering magazines to millions of readers, and we need the support for operations to keep our promise that 100% of funds from individuals and businesses is used to send magazines to readers.

I founded MagazineLiteracy.org for many reasons, but at the core because of my own love for magazines and the feeling I get when they arrive in the mailbox or when I am drawn by a force to find the newsstand as soon as I walk into a grocery store, pharmacy, airport or bookstore. Officially, it started with a meeting I had with Austin Kiplinger who I knew from Cornell and who later was the first publisher to make a financial investment in the project.  I will never forget how he shared his own love for magazines and especially for children’s magazines.

While working full-time – first on Capitol Hill, then running for office (badly) then on Wall Street, and now with an IT consulting firm, I’ve spent the same 25+ years organizing hunger relief efforts – food drives and hotlines that began while knocking on doors during my campaign for state office.  One of those doors opened to a home that was actually a food pantry with empty shelves, so we pivoted to fill them and many more after that.

Early on – back in 1994, I realized that there are very strong and fundamental parallels between feeding people food and feeding them reading materials – and that, while there were many industry-wide literacy projects that involved books and even newspapers, and some magazine literacy events, not on a permanent basis. Yet, for many reasons, magazines offer the greatest power for literacy and for building self-esteem. There are magazines for all ages, reading levels, and subject areas. Periodicals deliver fresh information with regular frequency. A name on a mailing label fosters a sense of ownership and helps to build self-esteem. Magazines retain their beauty and relevance for years, so as much learning and entertainment can happen reading a magazine from one or three years ago as when reading a current issue.

With hundreds of volunteers over many years, we have learned many lessons delivering new and recycled magazines to tens of thousands of readers – at-risk children and families in homeless and domestic violence shelters, mentoring and job training programs, and foster care –  and are now stepping up our operations to reach millions of people – consumers and readers, but need partners to get there:

As you can see in the stories in our blog, people love magazines and especially love to share them in so many ways – whether funding new magazines shipped to literacy programs or bundling their own to recycle.

Magazine publishing stakeholders in every corner have been supportive of our program, but our goal is to create a complete industry-wide celebration – representing every person and every company in the supply chain, from the board room to mail room, from publisher to consumer, printer to paper company – ad men and women, editors, and circulation pros, association leaders and members.

We need that support to achieve our full promise – delivering magazines to millions of readers, and we need the support for operations to keep our promise that 100% of funds from individuals and businesses is used to send magazines to readers.

Given the compelling parallels and the enormous win-win-win value that we can create in partnership with publishers, we are on a mission to marry the magazine and food bank supply chains.

Join us.  Help us to change the world – one magazine, one child, one family, one home at a time.  Help us share wonderful magazines and to put magazines into the hands and homes and hearts of people who want to learn and love to read.

  • Rocking the Boat

    501(c)(3) charity
    Bronx, NY
    Serving roughly 75 boys and girls (high school)
    Magazines Requested: Wooden Boat magazine, Fine Woodworking, Sail, National Geographic

  • Adult Literacy Plus Of Southwest Arizona

    501(c)(3) Charity, School or Library, Adult Education, GED
    Yuma, AZ
    Serving a minimum of 150 students a month ranging in ages from 16 to 70 years old. Reading levels range from third grade to first-year college levels. However, the most common age of students is between 19 and 35.
    Needs: Approximately 150 magazines per month
    Magazines Requested: Magazines showing places, people, and animals around the world. Any magazines about hobbies or sports. Magazines that open students’ eyes to the world around them.

  • Maryland Correctional Institution–Jessup (MCIJ)

    School or Library
    Jessup, Maryland
    Serving male adults 18-60 years of age. From pre-literacy to varying reading levels.
    Needs magazines for 30 students monthly
    Magazines Requested: Students enjoy nonfiction magazines with lots of pictures and short articles–this would include magazines about animals, geography, science, food, clothing, anything relevant to today’s world. National Geographic for Kids would be wonderful.

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