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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Education, International, International Development, International, Foreign Affairs & National Security

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

Programs: Books for africa sent 208 shipments of approximately 2,400,000 books with an estimated value of $33,100,000 to 20 african countires. Books for africa receives funds for the shipment of books to africa, and this is the organization's only program. Additionally, books for africa allows donors to target donations to specific countries and provides feedback to donor when books have been shipped to their countries. 99% of total expenses are spent on program related expenses.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Books for Africa is an amazing non-profit all the way around. They have a great team, they do great work, they are committed to real and sustainable change, and they are absolutely dedicated to making this world a better place. In addition to their tremendous mission, values, and results, they are also incredibly effective from a financial standpoint, as they make sure the most of every dollar donated actually makes it to the people and projects they are working to help. Great jobs BFA! Please keep up the amazing work!

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 4

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!

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

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)

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

After my son died, I never thought that I would experience joy again. A former board member of Books for Africa, my friend Pam, told me stories of the amazing resilience and joy of the Rwandan people. I started reading books written by Rwandan genocide survivors and through their written stories, began to understand in a deeper way the human ability to survive, thrive and find joy again. I decided to work with Pam to send books to Rwanda. The country had just changed its official language from French to English, so the timing was perfect. I visited the library sites and fell in love with the people and the country, so we are using my son's college fund to send more books! I was particularly impressed with the way Books for Africa works with other groups to make a difference. Two of the libraries we sent were Law libraries. Only 49 lawyers were left alive in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and there were few books. The Law and Democracy Initiative through BFA and Thompson Reuters provided complete, new, specifically designed law libraries to Rwanda Law Schools.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Books for Africa's mission is so simple--end the book famine in Africa. What the organization does is so straightforward--gather up gently used books, sort them by subject and grade level and ship them by container load to waiting hands in African countries. As a donor, I'm pleased that BFA has consistently high ratings for using funds very efficiently and keeps staff and overhead minimal. I've been to Tanzania with Books for Africa and seen the village schools with no electricity, no running water and one book shared by ten students. The children have so much less than even our poorest schools here, yet they seem hungry to learn. It's not so difficult to get books into their hands. Since the books are donated and volunteers sort and pack them, the main cost is shipping the container to an African port. It costs about $10,000 to send a container holding about 30,000. I like knowing that my monthly donations help make that possible. Imagine the impact of just one container on the life of a community and the future of those children!

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

After having gathered, sorted, and shipped books to Zambia myself, I found BFA in 2009. After going to Minnesota and meeting the fine people that run BFA, my wife and I have been som impressed that we've become members of BFA's "Summit Society" and make substantial donations yearly. I have personally placed BFA's books and computers in schools in Zambia, and have taken brand new law books donated by BFA to the Zambia Law Association. Great organization and the people can't be beat.