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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Books For Africa, Inc.

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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

As the Founder I am extremely proud of the work accomplished

Asratie T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am writing this letter in support of Books for Africa, a MN Based Charitable Education
organization, that I have come to know and support since 1999.
I have been and still is a strong supporter of Books for Africa because I relate to the circumstances
of the millions of children that Books for Africa is reaching out in Africa.
The day I discovered the existence of Books for Africa was one of my dreams come true. It is
not an exaggeration and here is why?
I was born in a rural village in a one room grass covered hut that we shared with the farm and
domestic animals at one corner, and an open fire place at the center of the room. A raised bunker
bed made of local materials is hanging little over the shoulders of the farm animals, and a
flickering lamp fueled by of animal fat or wax at one corner. That was the setting of the rural
house hold in Ethiopia in the village I was born. That setting is still true to over 50% Sub-
Saharan Africa and the continent in general in those countries lacking economic development.
I will be turning 50 years next week, and to date there is no electricity and running water
in the village I was born. It is very remote that modern amenities are years away. So how did
I get here from that environment against all odds?
The story is long but briefly…When I was two years old my maternal grandmother decided it
was time for her daughter to be in the city and without much publicity she scooped me and my
mom, and I ended up leaving in a larger town where schooling was available, and I went to a
Catholic pre-school followed by elementary and secondary public school education. From there
I maximized the opportunity to further my education and have had a successful career in Ethiopia.
I have a successful career here in the US as well, and currently I am pursuing a PhD on
Leadership and Organizational Change. All this has become possible because I was given an
opportunity to read and write. That is what Books for Africa is doing for millions of African
Over the years, I was part of Books for Africa witnessing its growth. For instance Ethiopia had
received only 12 containers of books in 1999. As of budget year 2011, Ethiopia received 175
sea containers of books and a total of 3.85 million books to date. Can you imagine how many
Asratie’ are born out of the opportunity to read and write that these books provided?
I am convinced that no international organization has done to educate the African children that
can compete with Books for Africa, and that is why I remain its permanent volunteer and supporter,
and gives it the highest praise and recognition. I hope you do too.
Asratie Teferra
Chair, Ethiopian African 2000 Millennium Group
3924 Oliver St, Hyattsville, MD 20782
P.301-277-3950 C.630-802-5901

1 HenryBMN

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2003 a Books for Africa staff person heard I was going to Africa to visit friends and asked me to look in on a few recipients to see how they were doing with their books. Perhaps it was a thinly-disguised attempt to get me hooked, but it captured my heart and mind. I met so many wonderful hardworking people and kids, from a refugee camp in Botswana, to the Rotary Club in Mzuzu Malawi, to a school building project in Eshowe, South Africa, all of them confident and passionate that education was the way to develop every person's complete potential. We're not giving people a handout, we're giving them tools to be better family members and community and world leaders. Books for Africa is a simple idea, efficient and effective, that changes the future for millions, yes millions, of people.