April 2009

Bookmarked for joy

The Tata group kicked off the second year of its association with the nonprofit organisation First Book on April 8, 2009 with Tata Business Support Services (TBSS) donating 1,500 books to 750 children of the East Milton Elementary School

It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It would seem that Tata has taken inspiration from just these words as it embarks upon its initiative to donate 40,000 books (valued at $160,000) to children in need across the US.

The group kicked off the second year of its association with the nonprofit organisation First Book on April 8, 2009 with Tata Business Support Services (TBSS), a business process outsourcing company based in Florida, USA, donating 1,500 books to 750 children of the East Milton Elementary School.

Tata_first_book02.jpgAs part of the programme, 30 first graders participated in one-on-one reading sessions with Tata employees, including MN Rao, TBSS managing director and CEO; Ricardo Layun, TBSS vice president and head of US operations; David Good, chief representative, Tata Sons North America; and Kyle Zimmer, First Book president and co-founder. Each child was then presented with two books which they could take home and add to their personal library.

"We are extremely proud that our business is growing, creating jobs and bringing the spending power of our employees to the Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in the midst of this unfortunate economic environment," said Mr Rao. "We are grateful that a number of our new employees were able to participate in the event — what a perfect way for them to join and give back to the Milton community."

Tata Sons first joined hands with First Book to boost education and encourage reading back inTata_first_book01.jpg 2007. Six Tata companies — Tata Sons, Eight O'Clock Coffee (EOC), TCS, Tata Communications, Corus and Tata Interactive Systems — donated $65,000 to First Book, and through a special matching programme US publishing house Simon & Schuster donated one book for every dollar contributed. The effort saw 65,000 books (valued at $260,000) being distributed to children in need across the US thanks to the support of Tata companies.

Tata Interactive Systems also provided in-kind support to First Book by designing an online network that enabled the organisation to communicate more effectively and efficiently with its more than 50,000 partners and donors, hundreds of volunteer-based local advisory boards, and thousands of community-based programmes serving children in need.

The initiative culminated in February 2008 with a visit by local Maryland elementary school students to the EOC coffee packing plant in Landover, Maryland, where EOC and other Tata employees hosted a reading party and book donation programme.

Continuing this year's effort will be Tanishq, the Tata group's jewellery retail store, with its "Help Build a Child's Future" campaign. The company recently opened two stores in Schaumberg, Illinois, and in Paramus, New Jersey, and will distribute 4,000 books to children in neighbouring communities.

"Tata companies have a long heritage of focusing on education in the communities in which they operate," said Mr Good. "The Tata group is excited to be working with First Book to help make a difference in the education of thousands of children all over the country."