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 350 children in need from 7 nonprofit agencies while promoting 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 both  children and their families during the 2022 - 2023 school year.

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


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To personalize your donation, you can write a note of encouragement to a child within the program that will be included in the donation of the books. You can also choose books from the Amazon Wishlist below for children within the program who are multilingual. Using the Amazon Wishlist below, you can choose to directly ship books to the United Way office for immediate distribution.  

Write a Note  Amazon Wishlist


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 17,400+ books to 1,750+ youth in both 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 can participate in the Emerging Readers Program!

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

You will need to opt in to volunteer for 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
  • Penfield Children's Center
  • United Community Center
When do students receive the books?

Book will be distributed to the agencies throughout the 2022 - 2023 school year in both December and in April.

Where are you buying the books?

United Way works with locally owned and operated bookstores to purchase the books on your behalf. For the 2022 - 2023 school year, books will be purchased through Penworthy Prebound Books, a locally owned, Milwaukee based small business.


Contact Audrey Kanthack via email or at 414.263.8187.