March 22, 2017

Pamela Lewy
Communications Director
Mario Batali Foundation


Mario Batali Foundation Joins Forces with Books for Kids, First Book and FoodCorps to Build Libraries, Provide Free Books to Educators, and Make Nutritious Food Attractive and Accessible

BOSTON, MA – March 22 – The Mario Batali Foundation (MBF) has made three major grants to improve literacy and nutrition for children in need in the Boston area. Kicking off the MBF initiative on Friday, March 31st at the Action for Boston Community Development’s (ABCD) Geneva Avenue Head Start program in Dorchester, the Mario Batali Foundation and its three grantees — Books for KidsFirst Book and FoodCorps – will join together to present the programs being implemented and expanded in Boston with this funding.

To launch this exciting initiative, Mario Batali will do a reading to local children of Green Eggs and Ham, followed by a ribbon-cutting to dedicate the new MBF/Books for Kids library at ABCD, and a personal greeting from Mario to educators and families attending a special First Book Book Fair.

“This initiative in Boston represents the first time the Mario Batali Foundation has brought together three of its grantees and two Head Start centers to make a real impact in a single city by having good books and good food practices accessible where they’re needed most,” said Mario Batali.   “We are honored to work with these organizations that do important work every day.”

Books for Kids

Two brand-new libraries will be opened by the Foundation and Books for Kids, one at the ABCD Geneva Avenue Head Start and another at Horizon’s for Homeless Children. Each library will be beautifully designed and filled with an age-appropriate collection based on the core group of standard titles recommended by the Department of Education and early childhood literacy experts, as well as titles specially selected by Mario Batali for healthy eating and living.  The books are carefully selected to reflect the backgrounds and life experiences of the children in the library’s community. Each library will also have a Mario Batali Foundation-funded Library Specialist and literacy program, as well as a lending program to allow books to be taken home by the children and their families.

The opening of these two new Books for Kids libraries marks the 15th and 16th Books for Kids libraries funded by the Mario Batali Foundation around the country.

First Book

First Book will distribute more than 20,000 brand-new books and resources to Boston educators serving children in need through the generosity of the Mario Batali Foundation. Following the library opening, hundreds of teachers and educators serving kids in need will be able to browse 10,000 age-appropriate, culturally relevant books, and take dozens of books home or to their programs at no cost. In addition, 2,000 books will be given to families served by the two MBF/Books for Kids Boston libraries, so children can continue reading at home. Finally, First Book will be shipping another 10,000 free books to educators throughout Boston who were not able to attend the event.


Expanding on its community and school support in Boston and Massachusetts for the past five years, FoodCorps is creating a future in which every school is a healthy school, and every child is well nourished and ready to learn. This new matching grant from the Mario Batali Foundation will enable FoodCorps to expand its Greater Boston area program and scale up service corps members in the area, reaching more than 7,500 children in Boston and Massachusetts with the nourishment and hands-on food education that will help to ensure a lifetime of healthy eating. The FoodCorps curriculum includes hands-on lessons in gardening, cooking, and tasting healthy food; cafeteria improvements that steer students toward the healthiest options and emphasize local sourcing; and an overall culture of health that gets staff, students, and families on board to transform the entire school community in meaningful, lasting ways.

About the Mario Batali Foundation

The Mario Batali Foundation was established to ensure that children are well read, well fed and well cared for, encouraging them to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today’s world. In addition to its grants for literacy and nutrition programs, the Foundation provides grants for rare pediatric disease research. To learn more, visit www.mariobatalifoundation.org

About Books For Kids

The mission of Books for Kids is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and implements literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life. To learn more, please visit www.booksforkids.org

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise founded in 1992 that has distributed more than 160 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada, which, with more than 300,000 members, is the largest and fastest growing network of educators exclusively serving kids in need. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. Eligible educators, librarians, program leaders, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org.

About FoodCorps

FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school. Its team of AmeriCorps leaders serve in high-need schools to make sure students learn what healthy food is, fall in love with it, and eat it every day. Its corps members focus their service on teaming up with educators to lead hands-on lessons in gardening, cooking and tasting healthy food; partnering with farmers and food service workers to create nutritious and delicious school meals; and collaborating with communities to inspire a long-term culture of health. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps pursues systemic strategies that will benefit all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. To learn more visit www.foodcorps.org

About ABCD

The Massachusetts-based non-profit human services organization provides low-income residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Benefiting “people all across Boston,” ABCD has 14 Neighborhood Service sites, 31 Head Start Centers and several other affiliated program sites to serve community needs. For more information, please visit https://bostonabcd.org/

About Horizons for Homeless Children

Horizons for Homeless Children is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young homeless children and their families. Horizons provides high quality early education, opportunities for play, and comprehensive family support services. Today, Horizons serves more than 2,000 young homeless children each week in Massachusetts through three early education centers and more than 120 shelter-based Playspaces. For more information about Horizons for Homeless Children, please visit: www.horizonschildren.org.