Long Beach Rotary members donated $58,300 at last week's meeting.
In 15 minutes.
The annual call for donations supports the club's Reading by 9 program that promotes childhood literacy with the goal of having them reading at grade level by 9 years old. Frank Newell, past president and Reading by 9 chair, has spearheaded the program for all of its 21 years.
“The donations raised this year will place thousands of new books into the hands of young readers, whether to read in their classrooms or take home to keep,” said current Rotary Club of Long Beach President Mollie Beck.
The Reading by 9 program started in 1999 in a partnership with the Los Angeles Times, Scholastic Books and local Rotary clubs; Newell was the Long Beach president at the time. Long Beach Rotarians decided to keep the program alive, and have raised $735,000 since that time.
That money has translated into more than 265,000 books and e-books to Long Beach children, directly or through schools, libraries and nonprofit literacy programs.
Most recently, Rotary Club of Long Beach donated $250,000 to the new Billie Jean King Main Library for the Rotary Early Childhood Literacy and Storytime Area. The club also provides grants to Long Beach nonprofits including Long Beach Day Nursery, YMCA, Precious Lamb Preschool, and For the Child, and gives teacher literacy grants.
For more information, go to www.rotarylongbeach.org.