Books For Africa, Inc.

Rating: 4.7 stars   20 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Education, International

Location: 253 E 4th St. Suite 200 St. Paul MN 55101 USA

Mission: Books For Africa was founded in 1988 by Tom Warth, a Minnesota publisher whose dream was to ship donated books to the children of Africa. Warth's visit to a Ugandan library, where books were almost non-existent, inspired him to create a system for collecting discarded books from American schools, libraries and publishers to send to Africa. Books For Africa remains the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 28 million books to 49 different countries since 1988. Over the past 12 months BFA has shipped 2.2 million books valued at $28.3 million to 22 African countries, with an additional 616 computers and 15 brand new law libraries.
Results: 2013 marks BFA's 25 Anniversary! We are celebrating the 28 million books shipped to 49 African countries thus far, and re-committing our efforts to send even more quality books in the years to come.
Target demographics: African schools and libraries that do not have sufficient books to support learning and recreational reading.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Each container shipped supplies enough books for ten school libraries. BFA ships about 2 containers every week!
Geographic areas served: all of Africa

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was introduced to Books For Africa by Anne Hussian who was working with Books For Africa on a project. She had listened to my speech about my work rehabilitating victims of human trafficking at the University of Minnesota during my Hubert Humphrey Fellowship. She generously reached out to support my cause and introduced me to the amazingly friendly staff of Books for Africa. What struck me most was the Passion and dedicated efforts of the staff and Board members towards their work-Ending the Book Famine in Africa! There is no bureaucracy in making requests for books and when I expressed the need for books for the education/rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in Uganda, they supported my cause including helping me with organizing a fundraiser for their shipment. For instance, Carole Patrikakos the manager of corporate relations and grants provided a lot of support in coordination and preparation of the fundraiser and Board member Henry Bromelkamp generously offered and matched any donations of $100 and over towards the shipment of a container of 22,000 books until it is fully fundraised! Am equally appreciative that Books For Africa gives me the freedom to choose the books relevant to the needs and educational environment of the recipients. They also facilitate/ help with networking the people they serve to collaborate in various ways towards common goals. Books For Africa is a true friend of Africa!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

BFA is an organization that is proud of it's Minnesota roots, but maintains a global outlook. BFA has not only done incredible work in the countries it delivers books to in Africa, but it also brings more cultural awareness to the greater Twin Cities area.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 4 stars  

While an undergraduate student I would often donate books that I no longer needed to Books for Africa. I believe strongly that the charity does a fantastic job of taking unused resources here in the US and making them go the extra mile for those who will undoubtedly benefit from it abroad. What an amazing and creative use of an available resource. I highly suggest others to involve themselves in this project!

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Books For Africa is a brilliantly run organization. They have a clear mission: build literacy in Africa by shipping books to them. A solvable problem, a simple solution, and they do it well. Because they have been perfecting their practice, they now ship huge numbers of books amid the corruption and other obstacles similar organizations face. They are experts in their field, and because of that they are constantly increasing the number of books they are shipping while also expanding into new areas such as sending computers, working here within the local community, or gaining important feedback about how the books are being used. All of this growth while maintaining a miniscule staff of passionate, dedicated humans. My personal opinion is that this is just the start for BFA, and that they will continue to grow and expand their benefits for many years to come. The staff is incredibly uplifting and passionate, I absolutely adore being a part of the work they are doing.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

I am an Ethiopian immigrant who live and work in minneapolis, Minnesota. I always have a dream to help the people of Ethiopia whom I left behind. Now, with the help of Book Africa that dream is close to become a reality. Book for Africa accepted my project for Ethiopia which is opening a family library and parente ducation program and is helping in fund raising. They also promised a container of books, which is around twenty two thousend books. I am always greatful for their work and help. And I am confident that with the help of their supporter my project will be come a reality very soon.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1997

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Books for Africa is an attempt to provide access to tools necessary to spread and achieve literacy. This organization takes books in full crates across seas to create a full, complete library available to the community. Its efforts are widespread and non-discriminatory. Not only are Books for Africa's efforts noteworthy, but the means of achieving them are distinctive; groups nation-wide-- from private individuals to college campuses-- donate books which are then used to create the library. This approach allows a wide variety of people to be involved. Books for Africa create a sense of community, a positive green effect (Less books in landfills--what a waste that would be!) and a positive effect on the world as a whole.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

Hello! Books for Africa is an incredibly impressive organization! The concept is simple--send books to poeple who do not have any. My background is in teaching and this thrills my heart. The low-overhead, small no. of paid employees, and wise use of resources all allow the hard work put forth by BFA to achieve its goals. This speaks to ethics in my view. BFA is organized and genuine in its values of serving the underserved. Education is the base for moving forward in life, and this begins with literacy. The faces of children receiving their BFA books, in photographs, says it all. I have begun giving donation-gifts to BFA to friends and families; this has become a favorite gift form. KUDOS and GRATITUDE to BFA!-----Sincerely, Paula Zenker (St. Paul, MN)

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 4 stars  

I am a teacher who taught two years in a seminary, Peramiho, Tanzania. When I would visit one of the primary schools in the neighborhood, I was always sadened to see a library of perhaps fifteen or twenty books and the one hundred or so students so eager to read. I am happy to have found BFA so that I could reach out to some of those children.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Books for Africa has allowed very scattered individuals and groups in the U.S. to send back more than 80,000 books to rebuild destroyed libraries in Sierra Leone. We are scheduled to send more than 100,000 books back in 2013 as well. This has helped to create literacy and scholarship in a country ravaged by civil war. It is a truly outstanding organization making a real difference in the world.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

I am Director of Development and International Partnerships for Fair Children Youth Foundation in Rwanda. We now have three schools and more than 1,000 pupils in FCYF: Wisdom Nursery and Primary Schools and a Deaf Children's School serve our beloved children in Musanze District. Our region was devastated for over a decade by civil war and genocide, and one of our early tasks when peace was restored was to build and open schools for some of the thousands of children who had been unable to receive ta basic education. We were so excited when a former international volunteer at our foundation who now works for Books for Africa asked if we would be interested to receive books and create a library for our schools. BFA allowed us to select what type and level of books our children needed. They kept us informed at every step of the delivery process, and even arranged for us to welcome in Musanze the wonderful person who sponsored the shipment to us. The books have now arrived and are all in very good condition. We will take care to ensure that they are kept carefully and will serve our children for many years to come. Our pupils are so eager to learn and this wonderful donation is surely a life changer for the children of Musanze. We now hear that more books will be coming our way next year. BFA is an amazing organization and we are grateful to them and all who come together through their excellent coordination and make it possible for our children to receive the learning they need and deserve. We hope in time to come to set up reading classes and make our library more widely available to the many youth and young adults who have missed out on primary education and yet are eager to become literate. Thank you BFA!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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