PORTLAND, OR – January 10, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Sperry Van Ness International, a national commercial real estate brokerage franchisor, today announced the launch of the “Million Books for Kids” project. One million books are being donated by Better World Books in 2012 to promote literacy among low-income children by providing books to the 100,000 kids with no books to read in their home.
As a partner with Social Venture Partners, Mark Van Ness, also founder and former CEO of Sperry Van Ness, recently learned the alarming statistic that there is only one book for every 300 children living in poverty locally and decided to do something about it. He “brokered” the deal involving donations between Better World Books for one million books, CENTERCAL for the former Borders Book Store space at Bridgeport Village and PacTrust for a 9,000-square-foot warehouse nearby.
“I think everyone is inspired by the fact that this is one problem children have that we can actually solve in 2012,” says Van Ness. “It’s hard to imagine growing up without a single book to read in your home.”
The Million Books for Kids Bookstore was opened at Bridgeport Village as a social enterprise with Friends of the Children to help raise funds to pay for shipping and make the project sustainable. Books are free to shoppers with a suggested donation of $1 for paperbacks and $5 for hardbacks. Local Sperry Van Ness affiliates volunteered alongside community members to stock the shelves and prepare the store for opening. In its first two weeks of operation the store already covered the cost of shipping the first 20 tons of children’s books.
“The ‘Million Books for Kids’ projects is a collaborative effort involving dozens of non-profits led by Social Venture Partners, and made possible by the generous donations of goods, services and prime real estate from business leaders. Not to mention the dedication of volunteers, which includes members of our local affiliate office,” said Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO and president of Sperry Van Ness International. “We are thrilled to be part of this community-driven effort to support children’s literacy and end book poverty for local kids in 2012.”
Van Ness, who identified the former Borders space at Bridgeport Village, said when approached with the idea of the “Million Books for Kids” project, the landlord generously agreed to donate the space for free until it is leased. The landlord is also covering the bookstore’s utilities.
“It has been inspiring to find that everyone we’ve turned to with a need has said yes,” said Van Ness. “All we need now is a shipping company to donate the delivery of the books.”
Better World Books has committed to donating 20 tons of books per month going forward so the collaborative can continue to get books to all the kids who need them in 2012.
“Our long-term goal is to establish a sustainable collection and distribution ecosystem in this region so we don’t have to ship books across the country. We plan to set up collection stations around town to gather books locally. Once we are sustainable, we will repeat the process in other regions, promoting child literacy in more communities,” said Van Ness.
About Sperry Van Ness
Founded in 1987, Sperry Van Ness International and its affiliates have more than 1,200 advisors and staff in over 145 markets. The Sperry Van Ness brand was recently recognized as a “Top 10 Brand in Commercial Real Estate” by the annual Lipsey Company survey and received two Realcomm “Digie” awards for the innovative use of technology. Sperry Van Ness affiliates deliver results for clients through a proven business model that immediately markets every one of its clients’ properties to the entire brokerage community as well as its own investor data base. With headquarters in Irvine, Calif., the franchise network provides brokerage, tenant representation, consultation, asset management, property management, leasing, accelerated marketing and auction services. Sperry Van Ness affiliates represent clients in billions of dollars annually in office, multifamily, retail, industrial, self-storage, hospitality and land transactions. For more information, visit www.svn.com.
Sperry Van Ness