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Elena Ford Leading New Literacy Initiative with Ford Fund, First Book

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Elena Ford literacy initiative

Elena Ford, Ford Motor Company’s chief customer experience officer and great-great granddaughter of company patriarch and namesake Henry Ford, is moving forward on a new initiative that aims to help improve literacy and encourage young people to enter the science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields.

Ford is teaming with Ford Fund and First Book to increase access to books and create opportunities for students in low-income families, providing them better access and resources to help them jumpstart their interest in STEAM disciplines.


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The initiative is set to launch in North Texas, where 800,000 adults are illiterate and as many as 1 million could be illiterate by 2030, before expanding to Kansas City and Phoenix. Texas is a particularly pivotal market because it is anticipated to offer the second-most STEAM job opportunities in America in the future.

The multi-approach initiative includes the distribution of 10,000 STEAM-related books, literacy events and reading parties, STEAM career exploration events like STEAM Camp, and partnerships with local dealers and community groups to better reach communities and individuals in need.

“Honing literacy skills and cultivating curiosity in STEAM subjects is critical to the future of our nation,” said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and co-founder of First Book. “First Book built a curated collection of STEAM titles on the First Book marketplace to spark that curiosity and encourage students to see themselves in STEAM careers. We could not be more grateful to Ford for its investment in expanding the breadth and the reach of the collection. It will yield benefits for an entire generation.”


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