Inside IAACU

Spelling Bee For A Cause: First Book of McLean County! – written by Mary Guinane

October 12th, 2011 by Joy Marchesano | No Comments

First Book –McLeanCountyis a unique community organization that works with existing community-based tutoring, mentoring, and family literacy programs, to provide ongoing book distributions to at-risk children, enabling them to build their own home libraries. Since the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home, First Book targets this need by providing children from low-income families with books they can take home and keep.

Since our inception in 2001, we’ve given more than 85,000 books to at-risk children here in McLean County.  Our goal is to give one new book a month over a twelve month period to each of these children.  Just recently, First Book – McLean County was pleased to grant a total of $24,166, which should provide an additional 12,083 books to children this year.  However, we were not able to grant all requests. We received applications from sixteen non-profit agencies inMcLeanCounty, to the tune of $35,088 – and only had the $24,166 available to grant.  The demand for books is there and our fundraising continues.  In order to help us reach our goal, we need to raise more dollars from the community.

We are 100% self-funded and ninety six cents of each dollar is used to buy books for the children.  Since we do not have an office or staff, our board and the volunteers work hard to raise funds for this very special cause.  First Book is a national organization and information can been attained on: We supported many local agencies throughout McLean County. For a complete list, visit our website at

We raise funds through three annual fundraising events and through gifts from generous individuals and business in McLean County.  One coming up is our First Book – Verizon Spelling Bee!  It will be Thursday, October 13th, 7:00 p.m. at Heartland Community College.  The Bee will be in Room 1406 in theCommunityCommonsBuilding and there’s free admission!  Please plan on joining us and if you have any questions, my phone number is: 309-820-6161.

Mary Guinane

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