Book Trust to be PLAYERS March 12 Charity of the Day

Nonprofit gets books into the hands of students


THE PLAYERS Championship will shine a light on literacy Friday, March 12, when its Charity of the Day – selected by Proud Partner Morgan Stanley – will be Book Trust.

Book Trust is a national early literacy nonprofit founded 20 years ago in Colorado that today has programs in 21 states, including Florida. Locally, it has been carrying out its mission since 2018 at Mayport Elementary School in Jacksonville.

“It’s been a really successful program at the school,” said Book Trust CEO Kellie O’Keefe. “We have a great relationship and partnership with Morgan Stanley and PGA and the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation.”

The nonprofit seeks to help every child discover “the joy and power of reading,” according to O’Keefe.

Students in the program get to order two books a month out of a Scholastic flier, the idea being that when children choose books they want, they are more likely to read.

The hope is that students will then create home libraries and share their books with siblings and caregivers.

“The focal point is to create a culture of literacy both in the classroom and at the school that we support, as well as in the living room and in the home,” said O’Keefe.

This has been especially helpful over the past year when circumstances have curtailed access to books, even at public libraries.

“I think that the Book Trust home libraries in particular are acting as a learning safety net right now what with all of these school closures due to the pandemic and all of the distant-learning piece,” said O’Keefe. “It is just really critical for kids to actually have physical books in their hands.”

This year, Book Trust delivered more than 4,000 books to 500 students at Mayport Elementary. Since the program started there, it has delivered nearly 18,000 books to more than 1,400 students.

O’Keefe called Morgan Stanley “an amazing partner.” For one thing, local employees of the investment bank and financial services company volunteer at the school by reading to the students.

Morgan Stanley and its brand ambassador, PGA TOUR pro Justin Rose, also support Book Trust through the Eagles for Impact Challenge. For every eagle made at THE PLAYERS Championship, the company will donate 1,500 books.

“These are excellent golfers, so they make a lot of eagles, which we love,” said O’Keefe.

To date, Morgan Stanley has donated more than $1 million through the Eagles for Impact Challenge.

Normally, Book Trust would have a tent on the course during the tournament. But with restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, that isn’t possible this year. So the PGA and Morgan Stanley have been promoting the nonprofit via social media.

O’Keefe said Book Trust can easily expand into other schools. All it needs are a willing principal, teachers open to ordering for the kids and some funding to support the effort.

“We can basically start a new program at a school really within a month’s time,” O’Keefe said. “It’s just a question of bringing those elements together.”

 To learn more about Book Trust, go to


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