Vice President, Marketing
Andrews McMeel Universal
Kansas City, MO — For every 300 children in Kansas City’s low-income neighborhoods, there is only one book in the home. Third-grade reading proficiency — the critical dividing line for literacy — is only at 55 percent in the Kansas City, MO, school district, where roughly half of all students drop out of school.
These are statistics we can’t ignore. That is why Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) has launched a community investment initiative to support efforts to improve children’s literacy in our city.
“We want to focus our company’s charitable resources on a singular issue in order to make a bigger impact on our community,” said Susan Johnson, AMU Chief People and Communications Officer. “As a syndicate and the leading publisher of comics for kids, reading is vital to our business, and literacy is important to our creators, business partners and associates.”
An interdepartmental advisory committee developed the community investment strategy, which includes:
- Corporate sponsorships to support Turn the Page KC and Literacy KC, such as presenting sponsor of Turn the Page KC’s annual summer reading kick-off event and sponsor of Literacy KC’s annual spelling bee.
- A program that mobilizes AMU associates to dedicate volunteer hours to support these organizations, as well as ancillary organizations such as Lead to Read, Phoenix Family and Little Free Library.
- In-kind book donations to the above-mentioned, and other local, organizations.
“We want to build on the company’s rich legacy of generosity and philanthropy,” said Johnson.
That legacy is based on the co-founders’ dedication to charity. Jim Andrews was known as a compassionate man who studied, wrote about and acted upon the social problems of his time, and fellow company founder John McMeel shared this passion by starting Christmas in October in 1979, which has improved the lives of tens of thousands of low-income homeowners.