Educational Institutions

First Book

Creating Equal Access to Quality Education

aka First Book Marketplace

Washington, DC


First Book believes that education is the best way out of poverty for children in need. We provide books and other resources to classrooms and programs serving children in need, from birth to age 18, in order to remove barriers to quality education for all kids.

Ruling Year


President, Co-founder, and CEO

Kyle Zimmer

Main Address

1319 F Street NW Suite 1000

Washington, DC 20004 USA


kids in need, educators, teachers, Title I, books, resources, education, equal access, school, elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, after school programs





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

First Book believes that education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. But 31 million kids who live in underserved communities are not getting the education they need: • 44 percent of all U.S. children come from low-income families. • Poverty is reshaping education: 51 percent of public school students are in need, often coming to school without even their basic needs met and under extreme stress. • Public education is underfunded: 23 states spend less on public education than they did a decade ago. School and youth programs are challenged for means to keep children engaged and learning, creating an urgent need for resources. • The economic devastation is deep and broad: According to McKinsey & Co, the effect of an inequitable education system is the equivalent of a national recession. Poor educational outcomes lead to rising health care and justice system costs; lost tax dollars, competitiveness, and workers; and unrealized opportunities for children in need.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Equal Access to Quality Education for Kids in Need

The Stories for All Project™

First Book Research and Insights

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

By removing barriers to educational opportunities for children growing up in low-income families — and supporting the educators who serve them — we can help close the achievement gap and change the trajectory, both for individual children and for our country.

Remove Barriers to Access: Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book makes everything from brand new, high-quality, relevant educational resources — including books, sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more — deeply affordable to educators and program leaders who serve kids in need. First Book also recruits funding to provide resources to programs that have no budget for books or learning materials. Aggregate Educators Serving Low-Income Communities: The First Book Network is made up of more than 450,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need in a variety of settings, including classrooms, after school programs, libraries, shelters, early childhood programs, and more. Through surveys, focus groups and formal studies, we aggregate their voices to identify needs and focus investment. First Book also works in partnership with both national and regional nonprofit organizations serving children in need to supply books and resources to them. Close the "Last Mile" of Education Innovation: First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises. First Book Research & Insights is First Book's proprietary research initiative built on more than 25 years of listening to feedback from educators working in under-represented communities. The First Book Accelerator brings best-in-class research to these classrooms and programs via relevant, usable educator resources, decreasing time-to-market from years to weeks. Increase Diversity and Promote Inclusion: Children in need are vastly underrepresented in books. First Book's Stories for All Project™ is the largest worldwide collection of diverse content curated for kids in need. To date, the collection includes more than 2,000 titles, and has launched books previously only available in hard-cover to affordable paperback formats, and partnered with publishers to make new, diverse and bilingual titles available at retail.

As a nonprofit social enterprise, First Book has built an award-winning distribution channel that delivers resources to where they are needed most. The First Book Marketplace (, along with its affiliated Canada program (, is a nonprofit e-Commerce platform that provides First Book's network of educators with thousands of free and very affordable high-quality, brand new books, educational resources, and basic needs items. With thousands of items curated in direct response to educator input, the First Book Marketplace reduces the problem of price and distribution, addressing the barriers to education and attendance for kids in need from birth to age 18, including a large collection of relevant diverse and Spanish/bilingual books, school supplies, digital devices, food, clothing, and personal hygiene kits, as well as free teacher resources. Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources at Registration is free and carries no obligation.

By removing barriers to books and resources, First Book supports the success of the educators who serve kids in need. In a poll of the First Book network: • 82 percent of respondents reported that without First Book their children would have very few or no new books. • 87 percent of respondents reported children's increased interest in reading after receiving books from First Book. • 79 percent of respondents said First Book helps them be the best educator they can be. • 88 percent of respondents reported resources from First Book helps close the achievement gap for the kids they serve. Educators also reported that First Book resources: • Promote self-esteem and a feeling of being cared for, particularly because the resources are new — a rarity in the lives of children from low-income communities. • Raise the performance of the classroom or program by increasing the student's attention and confidence in her/his own abilities. • Promote cross-cultural awareness, encouraging the ability to hold competing views and develop empathy. • Raise the literacy of the family when children read the books they receive to parents and siblings, and pass them throughout the extended family. • Reduce the isolation experienced by immigrants and ELL students and parents. • Raise the well-being of the community.

Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need. Learn more in our Impact Report and thru our First Book web site. Please consider a donation to support our mission and help bring equal access to quality reading and educational resources to our kids across the US and Canada. Thank you!

External Reviews



First Book

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?