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A New Chapter for the Children’s Book Bank

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

On Thursday, October 14 former SVP Portland Community Partner Children’s Book Bank (CBB) announced their merger with SMART Reading. This unification will allow both organizations to have a collective impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. Their missions are already aligned — they both aim to advance child literacy and allow Oregon children greater access to books — and together there is huge potential to expand their reach throughout Oregon.

SVP was an important capacity building partner for CBB, and we are excited that they have this opportunity to continue to grow. SVP Partner Ron Eiseman has been a member of the CBB Board of Directors since 2014, and serves as the chair of the Operations Committee of the Board. Ron sees this merger “as a natural extension of the services that both organizations offer: CBB offering services to younger children in developing pre-literacy skills and bonding (which is not offered by SMART) and SMART offering services to older children (which is not offered by CBB).” Ron adds, “It is expected from this merger that CBB’s reach will eventually expand geographically to include the entire state of Oregon. I am very optimistic for the future of the combined organization.”

The pandemic was a strain on many nonprofits. SMART was particularly impacted because they previously provided one-on-one reading practice powered by volunteers in schools. When children began to learn virtually, SMART needed to get books in kids’ hands and SMART Reading Executive Director Chris Otis knew that CBB had the ability to do that. Otis and CBB Founder and Executive Director Danielle Swope started talking, and quickly realized that by bringing the organizations together they could have a deeper impact than ever before. They are both joyful about getting more books to children, supporting their collective mission to advance childhood literacy, and this new chapter of achieving greater impact together!

Want to learn more? Read the public announcement and merger FAQS.

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