Books For Africa, Inc.

aka BFA   |   St. Paul, MN   |  https://www.booksforafrica.org

Mission

Books For Africa's mission is to end the book famine in Africa.  BFA collects, sorts and ships donated textbooks, reference and general reading books, as well as computers and e-readers, throughout Africa. BFA has delivered over 53 million books, serving all 55 African countries since 1988.

Ruling year info

1993

Principal Officer

Mr. Patrick Plonski Ph.D.

Main address

717 Prior Avenue N Suite B

St. Paul, MN 55104 USA

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EIN

41-1627391

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security N.E.C. (Q99)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The problem is the book famine in Africa. Children at home and in school, young students and professionals hoping to launch their careers, and adults seek continuing education lack access to the resources they need. This results in education gaps, and increases inequality of opportunities as well as social and socioeconomic inequalities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Books For Africa

Books For Africa is a simple name for a simple organization. We collect, sort, ship and distribute books to the children of Africa.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent

Books For Africa's Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative provides law and human rights books to new democracies looking for support in solidifying the rule of law.  Books for this intiative are provided by Thomson Reuters/ Westlaw, the lawbook publishing arm of Thomson Reuters.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Books For Africa Agriculture, Natural Resource, and Vocational Skills Initiative provides libraries of new textbooks focused on improving African agricultural systems. The books offer training for secondary and post-secondary students in the best practices for food production and farming. The libraries focuses on four areas of agricultural development including: crops, animals, the environment and farming practices. The knowledge in these books will help African communities tailor solutions to the unique challenges they face to develop efficient food and agricultural systems for generations to come.

Population(s) Served
Farmers

Where we work

Awards

4 star rating 2020

Charity Navigator

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These metrics represent the total number of books shipped to the African continent during each fiscal year, according to the tracking and as published in our annual report.

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric represents the number of followers on Books For Africa's public facebook page.

Percentage of recipients who report that books received are high-quality

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This metric is based on the results of our annual recipient survey, which tracks the impact of our program and solicits feedback from the beneficiaries.

Percentage of recipients who report that books received will have a positive impact on their learning community

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This metric is based on the results of our annual recipient survey, which tracks the impact of our program and solicits feedback from the beneficiaries.

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the total monetary contributions received, reported each year in our annual report.

Number of books donated

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Books For Africa

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the total number of donated books received by BFA to be redistributed in Africa, reported each year in our annual report.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The mission of Books For Africa is to end the book famine in Africa. We aim to help create a culture of literacy and provide the tools of empowerment to the next generation of parents, teachers, and leaders in Africa by providing high-quality and in-demand books to areas where they are difficult to come by.

Books donated by publishers, schools, libraries, individuals, and organizations are sorted and packed by volunteers who carefully choose books that are age and subject appropriate.

They are shipped in sea containers paid for by contributions from individuals and organizations. It costs about 50 cents to send a book from the United States to Africa. Books For Africa has shipped more than 53 million books to 55 different countries since 1988.

We partner with various donors and recipients to facilitate the process and work to fundraise and network both in the U.S. and on the African continent. We are active on social media and in our local communities to raise awareness about the book famine in Africa.

Over 33 years of operations Books For Africa has built a strong distribution network across the African continent, allowing us to reach a great diversity of communities: urban & rural, large & small, encompassing a wide variety of religions and cultures.

Domestically, BFA has received numerous accolades for accountability and transparency, while building a base of donors and volunteers that are passionate about our mission.

We are confident that these networks will only continue to grow, allowing us to increase the breadth and scope of our projects and continue providing high-quality materials to children and students who need them.

BFA has made great strides in the fight to end the African book famine. The 53 million books delivered over the past 34 years have made a real and enduring impact in African communities.

However, there is much to be done. With half a billion children on the African continent, the need is greater than ever for quality educational materials. UNICEF reports that by the end of the 21st century, half the world population under 18 will be in Africa. In an increasingly global world, it is essential that the current generation of African children receive a world-class education. We have a lot yet to accomplish, but providing high-quality books is a tried and true method of positively impacting educational outcomes, and we are dedicated to our mission of ending the book famine in Africa.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Communities in Africa who are in need of books, most often schools and community libraries that are underprivileged.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have refined our criteria for book donations that we accept based on feedback we received from book recipients and make special outreach efforts to seek the most relevant types of books.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It means that our program is primarily guided by the people we serve - their feedback and needs are what drive the direction of our programs, and not our own wishes or desires.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Books For Africa, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Books For Africa, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Joni Sussman

Kar-Ben Publishing

Term: 2020 - 2022

Thomas Warth

Automotive Books

Tom Gitaa

Mshale Newspaper

Patrick Plonski

Books For Africa

Mike Essien

Essien Law Office

Jote Taddese

Medtronic

Kojo Amoo-Gottfried

Cargill

Matilda Arhin

Ghana Int't Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Davern

Follett

Tammie Follett

Literacy Matters

Gary Zelko

Merck and Company

Amb. Howard Jeter

Former Ambassador to Nigeria

Emma Kasiga

MN DEED

Charlie Cogan

Crimson Education

John Elstad

Thomson Reuters

Dustin Holland

Jeff LeBlanc

Out Of Print

Fatima Lawson

Highwood Hills Community School

Paul Musherure

Healthpartners

John Rupp

Commonwealth Properties

John Stacey

Course Hero

Niclette Mundabi

TheLuxe Africa

Lillian Otieno

MN Department of Agriculture

Isaac Owens

Hennepin County Medical Center

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/19/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.