READ/SAN DIEGO AND ITS PARTNERS
When baseball player Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals teamed up with the Starbucks Foundation for the "Out of the Park, Into Books" initiative, each of his three home-run hits in San Diego translated into a Starbucks donation of $5,000 to a literacy organization. READ/San Diego was the chosen beneficiary and has since built its relationship with Starbucks into a full-blown partnership.
While the focus of the partnership between READ/San Diego and Starbucks is on family literacy, Starbucks also donates coffee for READ/San Diego events, provides free coffee coupons for tutor-learner pairs meeting at Starbucks, underwrites a family literacy program at a branch library, provides story time for kids in their stores, supplies gifts for READ/San Diego's annual volunteer recognition dinner, and sponsors the annual All Books for Children (ABC) Book Drive.
For the ABC Book Drive, which obtains about 5,000 books yearly, local Starbucks stores collect donated books in bins and then give the books to READ/San Diego's Families for Literacy programs. This drive provides free books for READ/San Diego to give to participating families and has generated some 25,000 books thus far.
Storytelling in Starbucks stores has recently started in San Diego. Based on a Starbucks' program in other communities, the storytelling sessions enable Starbucks employees in San Diego to get involved directly in their community, a goal of the Starbucks Coffee Company and Foundation. As part of READ/San Diego's Families for Literacy program, local Starbucks stores invite children and their parents to hear stories read by Starbucks employees. With a grant from the Starbucks Foundation, READ/San Diego created "Storyteller's Binders," training handbooks for employees that describe the program and offer tips on modeling good reading techniques. Currently, six stores the South Bay communities of Otay Mesa, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and San Ysidro have this program.
What common interest could bring together a coffee company and a city-run literacy program? As it turns out, both partners want to reach the same populations, and they can do so effectively by collaborating. For instance, READ/San Diego recently wanted to expand its literacy services to a community where Starbucks planned to open new stores. Rather than enter this community separately, they joined efforts. READ/San Diego advertised its services at Starbucks stores, which helped boost the store's acceptance in the new area. In this way, the partnership continues to grow and reach new learners.