AFT Massachusetts Receives $25,000 Grant to Support New Teachers in Urban Districts

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AFT Massachusetts has received a $25,000 grant from First Book to provide funding directly to new educators in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell, and Salem so they can purchase books for classrooms and spark their students’ interest in reading and learning. 

Through the grant, which is being matched by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFT Massachusetts, and local teachers unions in the six communities, approximately 1000 new teachers will be provided with a $50 gift card to the First Book Marketplace to purchase books for their classrooms. The First Book Marketplace stocks more than 6,000 high-quality, diverse book titles on a variety of topics that First Book offers for 50-90% off retail costs. 

“Our 6-year partnership with First Book has already brought more than half a million books to educators, students, and their families. We’re thrilled to extend this partnership with this grant, which will help 1000 educators purchase books for their classrooms,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “Together, we’re helping our students discover the joy of reading while supporting brand-new educators as they start their career.” 

“We’re delighted to be able to offer new Salem teachers help filling their classrooms with books,” said Salem Teachers Union President Ann Berman. “Giving our students the gift of reading is so important, and we’re grateful to First Book for their support of our schools.” 

Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 175 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need. 

The American Federation of Teachers and First Book have been working together for more than 6 years to support educators and the students, families and communities they serve. Since the partnership began, it has brought more than 5 million books and other educational resources directly to classrooms, libraries, healthcare facilities, and other community places. In Massachusetts, AFT locals have now hosted 10 large scale distributions — in Boston, Lynn, Lowell, Peabody, Salem, and Springfield — bringing 500,000+ books to educators, students and families.