Starbucks Donates $10,000 to Local Literacy Group In Honor of Mark McGwire Homeruns

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wonder of Reading today received $10,000 from Starbucks through a partnership with Mark McGwire and the ``Out of the Park -- Into the Books'' children's literacy program. The non-profit literacy organization will distribute the funds to Los Angeles schools in need of new libraries and books.

More than 30 children participated in a special storytelling event to celebrate the donation at the Commonwealth Elementary School in Los Angeles. The Wonder of Reading kids also made and displayed thank you notes expressing their appreciation to Mark McGwire for his participation in the program.

In addition, more than 4,000 children's books were collected from Starbucks Third Annual ``All Books for Children'' book drive. Children's books were gathered at Southern California Starbucks stores for The Wonder of Reading to distribute to Los Angeles schools.

``Working with Mark to raise funds for The Wonder of Reading in Southern California has been a wonderful way to raise awareness of local literacy issues,'' said Kimberly Gerber, regional marketing manager, Starbucks Coffee Company. ``All Books for Children gives Starbucks the perfect opportunity to get our community thinking about reading, while giving back to neighborhood children.''

``Read. Dream. Grow. Out of the Park -- Into the Books'' is the partnership between Starbucks and Mark McGwire, developed as a result of their mutual commitment to helping children. Throughout the 1999 season, the Starbucks Foundation will match each of McGwire's home runs with a $5,000 donation to children's literacy organizations in each city where he plays. In Southern California, the result is new libraries and books for local children provided by The Wonder of Reading.

The program all started with a hat. Last season, before the fourth game of the World Series, McGwire walked into a Southern California Starbucks and asked if he could buy a Starbucks hat. Since the company does not sell hats, the barista gave McGwire his hat. He wore the hat to throw out the first pitch in Game 4 of last year's World Series. McGwire's appreciation for the company's values prompted him to contact chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, paving the way for the ``Read. Dream. Grow. Out of the Park -- Into the Books'' partnership.

The Wonder of Reading is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire in children the love of reading. At a time when public schools are feeling the brunt of government cuts and closures, The Wonder of Reading has been an unparalleled force in the fight to dramatically improve Los Angeles's aging and deteriorating public elementary school libraries. Since its founding in 1994, The Wonder of Reading has provided new libraries and new books for more than 25,000 young students at some of Los Angeles's most disadvantaged schools.

Started in 1997 by Schultz, the Starbucks Foundation is a non-profit corporate foundation created to support charitable causes in communities where Starbucks conducts business. Domestically, the Foundation focuses on literacy because Starbucks believes in the power of reading -- to change lives, to combat poverty and despair and to involve parents in creating a better future for their children.

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