Philanthropy Spotlight: Make Way for Books

Make Way for Books 

Twenty years ago, Make Way for Books’ founder Dr. Mary Jan Bancroft found that many of the preschools and childcare centers serving economically-disadvantaged children in Tucson did not have quality books and literacy resources. In 1998, Mary Jan founded Make Way for Books and with the support of six volunteers, she began providing books and literacy workshops at five under-resourced preschools.

Today, Make Way for Books has a staff of 32, hundreds of volunteers, and last year we provided thousands of books and innovative programming to more than 30,000 children, families, and educators throughout southern Arizona.

Make Way for Books is an early literacy nonprofit that provides proven programs, services, and resources to 30,000 young children, parents, and educators throughout southern Arizona each year. Our mission is to give all children the chance to read and succeed. We provide proven programs to ensure our youngest children discover the joy of books, develop critical emergent literacy and language skills, and start school ready. We reach young children in the critical birth to 5 years to build a foundation for all future learning. Our theory of change is that we get to every caregiver in a child’s life and ensure that, that adult understands their incredible power to impact their child’s literacy, love of learning, and success.

Across all Make Way for Books programs:

97% of children develop critical emergent literacy and language skills that are the building blocks for future successful readers

98% of parents/caregivers gain skills and confidence to be their child’s first, most essential teacher

99% of early childhood educators gain skills to support the children in their care more effectively

Get Involved!

There are many ways for you to get involved in our community and make a difference at Make Way for Books!

Deliver books for Blue Book Houses: This is a great opportunity for volunteers looking for a flexible time commitment, as volunteers stop by the office once a month to pick up their deliveries.

Volunteer at our Office: From preparing literacy kits and creating storyboards to processing books for our Blue Book House project, we are always in need of volunteers for office projects at our office.

Host a Book Drive: Ask for books in place of birthday presents. Host a book drive at your school or business place. We can help!

Become a Food for Thought Volunteer!: Help Make Way for Books provide goodies and meals for workshops, meetings, and other work-related gatherings.

Become a Storytime Volunteer: Do you have experience working with young children? Storytime Volunteers visit preschools and childcare centers weekly to make books come alive for preschool-age children.

This post is a part of our 2019 social media series, “Philanthropy Spotlight”.  There are so many deserving charities in Tucson. Make sure to check out our news feed every Tuesday to read about more local non-profits. We hope you take the time to read about these wonderful organizations and how you can get involved in our community.

Do you have a non-profit you’d like to see highlighted on our website & social media pages? Email requests to or comment below!


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