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Houston's a city of great giving and the CultureMap Charity Challenge aims to highlight that. CultureMap selected 12 deserving nonprofits to compete for a grand prize as they all raise awareness for worthy causes. Today: Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.
Established as a charitable organization focused on improving the quality of life for Houston residents through the power of literacy, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation was founded on the belief held by former first lady Barbara Bush, "If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless."
In 2013, the Bush family created the Houston-based foundation separate from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy — a national foundation — in response to the need to deepen the awareness of and intensify services and support for the nation's fourth largest and most diverse city.
Co-chaired by Neil and Maria Bush, the foundation advocates for literacy as a fundamental right of everyone and a foundational skill towards success in life. The organization recognizes that when a person is illiterate or has low-level literacy skills, it negatively impacts everyday life, preventing individuals from performing essential functions such as reading a prescription bottle or helping a child with homework.
The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has taken on the important role of expanding the awareness of the value of literacy and building the capacity throughout the Houston community by mobilizing community resources — funding, volunteers and services — to dramatically increase the literacy rates among people of all ages.
Since its founding, the organization has taken on the important role of convening more than 100 community leaders across nearly 80 organizations to identify Houston's literacy crisis and develop a plan of action to address the city's low literacy rates. The outcome of the effort led to the development of a detailed literacy report, Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action, which includes extensive data and research and is intended to raise awareness of the severity of our literacy crisis, engaging and motivating members of the Houston community to take action.