United Way Suncoast has awarded $35,000 in Community Investment funding to Bess the Book Bus, Inc. for their Community Book Distribution.

TAMPA, FL – July 9th, 2020 – Bess the Book Bus, Inc. is pleased to announce that they will be receiving $35,000 in Community Investment funding from United Way Suncoast for their Community Book Distribution. Through this grant, they will reach more children from ALICE families in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and direct specific focus to the United Way priority neighborhoods in both counties.

United Way Suncoast recently completed the first year of funding (FY 20) of over $5.6 million in community investments utilizing its new investment process. United Way met with over 400 individuals representing non-profit agencies, funders, business leaders, volunteers, and team members. These key stakeholders helped design and shape a new process to guide investments in our community, leading to greater impact and results for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Community investments were aligned to priority areas and focused on Asset Development, Early Learning, Financial Stability, Workforce Development and Youth Success across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto Counties.

“In the true spirit of community and collective impact, United Way Suncoast volunteers did a thorough and thoughtful review of all requests. We are proud to support many high-impact programs that will do so much good across our region. At United Way Suncoast, we never stop advocating for our community. Through our partnerships and expertise, we create bold solutions to our biggest challenges – uplifting lives and achieving equity for generations to come.”, says United Way CEO Jessica Muroff.

“All of us at Bess the Book Bus are thrilled and honored to receive funding from the United Way Suncoast. This funding will allow us to dramatically increase our local impact. Bess the Book Bus links with long-time community partners while continuously engaging new partners to distribute books, read to children, and provide parents/caregivers with literacy tips. We look forward to working alongside our current community partners and the other recipients of this grant to strengthen early learning in Tampa Bay.” – Jennifer E. Frances, Executive Director and Founder of Bess the Book Bus, Inc.

“We are proud to partner with Bess the Book Bus, Inc. in support of our community impact priority of Early Learning. Our community needs this support now more than ever. We look forward to the impact these dollars will make in serving readers and children pre-school age to high school”, says United Way CEO Jessica Muroff.

About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast fights for the education and financial stability of every person in the community through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed, helping adults achieve long-term financial stability and activating caring individuals through volunteerism. We are proud to serve the people of DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by operating and funding services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. For more information, visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.

About Bess the Book Bus, Inc.

Bess the Book Bus (BBB) is a mobile literacy outreach dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap by building home libraries and lifelong readers. BBB travels to pre-scheduled sites in less-resourced neighborhoods to read to children and provide participants with free high-quality new books of their choice. We serve readers ages 0-100 but focus on working with children pre-school age to high school.