Home News Walmart Joins with Jumpstart to Make Early Education a Priority

Walmart Joins with Jumpstart to Make Early Education a Priority

Official Retailer for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, Walmart helps raise funds for early education program and donates books to children in low-income communities

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (September 10, 2009) – Walmart and Jumpstart today formally announce a joint effort to highlight the importance of early education and literacy as Walmart joins Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign as its official Retail Partner. Jumpstart’s work with Walmart brings a critical retail presence to support Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, presented in partnership with Pearson, which shines a national spotlight on literacy by creating the largest shared reading experience.

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is a celebration of reading, community service and fun to raise awareness about the importance of reading with young children to ensure they learn crucial early language and literacy skills to succeed in school and in life. The campaign also raises funding to support Jumpstart’s yearlong work with preschool children in low-income communities where Jumpstart is working toward the day all children enter school prepared to succeed. This year, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record has set out to break Jumpstart’s reading record as adults read the same book on the same day to more than one million children across the country.

The official campaign book for the 2009 Read for the Record is a special, limited edition of the Philomel Books classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. The commemorative book includes a foreword with messages from Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira of NBC’s TODAY Show, Tony-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress Mary Louise Parker, and entertainer, actor, author, recording artist, two-time Grammy Award winner, and NAACP Image Award winner, LL Cool J. Walmart stores nationwide are offering the official limited edition copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in support of Jumpstart's Read for the Record. All net proceeds from the book sales* will be donated to Jumpstart.

"Access to books, especially quality literature, is one of the major factors of early educational success for children and Walmart is committed to doing our part to raise awareness and provide access," said Walmart Foundation president Margaret McKenna. "From our associates who are reading in Walmart stores on October 8th to customers who support Jumpstart by buying The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Walmart, we're helping to instill a love for reading in children, planting seeds for later success."

“The books we read as children provide us with treasured childhood memories,” said Jumpstart’s President James Cleveland. “Unfortunately, most children in low-income communities have few, if any, age-appropriate books in their homes. As a result, they miss out on the reading experiences that form the foundation for success in school and life. In fact, each year one third of America’s children arrive at their first day of school without the skills necessary to succeed. At Jumpstart, we’re remedying this problem by giving these young people important individualized early education programming throughout the school year.”

“With Walmart’s generous support of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, I am convinced that this year’s campaign is going to not only break a record to raise awareness about the importance of early education, but also directly help us donate more than 250,000 official campaign books to children in need,” Cleveland added. “Jumpstart is proud to have Walmart as such a dedicated partner and integral part of the 2009 Read for the Record campaign.”

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record will be kicked off on October 8 on NBC’s TODAY Show with celebrity readers; the launch is followed by marquis events throughout the country in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Grass roots organizing efforts will also result in thousands of events planned in homes, schools, libraries, parks and community centers across the country.

Over the past three years, more than one million people have taken part in this record-breaking Campaign. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record has raised more than $3 million to support Jumpstart’s mission and more than 500,000 books have been donated to children in need. The campaign is further supported by presenting sponsor, Pearson and national campaign sponsors American Eagle Outfitters and Sodexo as well as Penguin Young Readers Group.

Anyone can join this record breaking celebration of reading, community service and fun – simply PLEDGE TO READ at readfortherecord.org; official campaign books are available for purchase at Walmart. For more information, visit www.readfortherecord.org – in addition to information on how to participate, the website provides information about donating books to Jumpstart children, hosting and joining shared reading events across the nation, as well as ensuring that time reading with a child in one’s life is counted toward the record.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

About Jumpstart
Jumpstart is a national early education organization that works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. To cultivate a child’s social, emotional and intellectual readiness, Jumpstart brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children for year long, individualized tutoring and mentoring. Since 1993, more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart service. Jumpstart’s national sponsors include American Eagle Outfitters, AmeriCorps, Pearson, Sodexo and Starbucks. Jumpstart is the five-time recipient of the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award (2004-2008) and has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, visit the Jumpstart Web site at www.jstart.org.

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* A minimum of $1.00 (12.5% of the retail price) for each book purchased.