Emerging Readers
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Emerging Readers

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Make a difference by purchasing books for our nonprofit agency partners in both Milwaukee and Waukesha County! Your donation will give books to over 350 children in need and promote literacy within underserved populations.

This year, books will be purchased through Penworthy Prebound Books, a locally owned, Milwaukee based small business. Your donation will allow United Way to purchase and distribute multiple books to children and their families during the 2022-2023 school year.

A donation of $10 will buy one book for a child in this program. We recommend a donation of $50 to ensure these kids have books to read throughout the year!

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To personalize your donation, you can write a note of encouragement to a child in the program that will be included in the donation of the books. You can also recommend books that you would like United Way to purchase this year.

Write a Note  Favorite Book Survey  


The Impact

Last year, 274 children (5 - 14 years old) across 6 partner agencies received 1,200+ books.

Since its inception, the program has provided 16,000+ books to 1,400+ youth in Milwaukee and Waukesha County.


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Who can participate?

Any volunteer who is interested in getting books into the hands of children within Milwaukee and Waukesha County!

Do I need to sign-up every year or am I automatically registered?

You will need to opt into the program each year through a monetary donation.

Who receives the books?

We work with United Way partner agencies to manage this program and ensure that every child who is signed up receives books.

This year we have 7 local nonprofits participating. They are the following:

  • Big Brother Big Sisters Milwaukee
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • COA
  • La Casa de Esperanza
  • Meta House (new in 2021)
  • Penfield Children's Center
  • United Community Center


When do students receive the books?

Book will be delivered to 7 nonprofits throughout the 2021-2022 school year in December and April.

Where are you buying the books?

United Way will work with locally owned and operated bookstores to purchase the books on your behalf. For the 2021-2022 school year, books will be purchased through Martha Merrell’s Bookstore, a locally owned, Waukesha based small business.


Contact Audrey Kanthack via email or at 414.263.8152.