Giving Back

Penguin Random House: A Story of Shared Values: Literacy & Education

This  eight-part series highlights individual sections from our first-ever Social Impact Highlights Summary.  Today’s installment features literacy and education.

The power of reading and writing knows no bounds. The ability to read and write is key to unlocking a new perspective and a greater awareness of not only the world outside but also the one within. It is the starting point in both transcending and uniting generations and cultures, building empathy and expanding the imagination.

We strive to recognize educators across our territories who nurture the next generation of readers and writers.  Please click on image to enlarge it

Access to Books

At the forefront of our objectives in social responsibility are programs offering books to people in communities where few are available. Each year we contribute millions of our books, which serve as an invaluable resource to schools and programs worldwide. If you haven’t taken our Social Impact Quiz yet, there is still time to do so.  Click here to view the questions.

Penguin Random House: A Story of Shared Values – Take Our Quiz

Last December, Markus Dohle shared our first-ever Social Impact Highlights Summary as part of his year-end letter. As Markus wrote, the summary “showcases how our company operates responsibly and complements our publishing efforts by going beyond the day-to-day activities of the business to give back to our communities, both locally and globally, across our territories.”

In this 8-part series, which will run over the next two weeks, we will highlight individual sections from the summary. We’d like to kick off the series with a short quiz: How big is our global and nationwide impact?  The answers will be revealed at the bottom of the post. Each year, we contribute millions of our books to national and international key partners like First Book, Worldreader, and Save the Children, as well as community focused organizations like Books For Babies, Read Ahead, and Mighty Writers. In 2017, First Book alone received more than 2 million books for low income children and delivered those books to their communities, schools and libraries, and areas affected by natural disasters.   1. Approximately, how many physical and digital books did Penguin Random House donate globally in 2017?
  • 6 million
  • 3 million
  • 4 million
  Given our scale and network of resources, we have the extraordinary opportunity to contribute and commit to projects and partnerships that have a meaningful and lasting impact beyond the books we publish. While this dollar amount is worldwide, our Social Responsibility initiatives are local and community-focused. 2. What was the dollar amount of our total charitable giving in 2017 worldwide?
  • $6.8 million
  • $9.6 million
  • $11.4 million
  Institutions such as the American Cancer Society, PEN America, American Civil Liberties Union, American Red Cross, and Village Health Works were among the most popular organizations our employees supported. 3. How much money did employees in the U.S. donate using our Matching Gift program last year?
  • $350.880
  • $492.370
  • $531.971
  This Penguin Random House Foundation signature program gave out over 1,570 awards to public high school students and conducted more than 500 “Write Now” classroom workshops. Looking for writing with a strong, clear voice, by young writers who are daring, original, and unafraid to take risks, this program focuses on Title 1 schools in New York City’s five boroughs. 4. How much money did our company donate to scholarships as part of our Creative Writing Awards since its inception in 1994?
  • $2,100,300
  • $2,638,500
  • $5,800,900
  Dedicated to the practices of responsible book publishing, we are committed to source 100% of the paper we use worldwide from a certified major international paper certification system by 2020. 5. What percent of the paper we purchase derives from one of the major international paper certification systems?
  • 65%
  • 87%
  • 95%
Answers: (1) 4 million  (2) $9.6 million  (3) $531.971  (4) $2,638,500  (5) 95%    

Our Volunteers Kendra Levin and Marysarah Quinn Revisit Their Week in Rwanda

Journeying from America to the heart of Africa, our Penguin Random House colleagues Marysarah Quinn (Senior Vice President, Director of Creative Design, Crown) and Kendra Levin (Associate Editorial Director, Viking Books for Young Readers) were the first publisher-funded volunteers to go to Rwanda and work in partnership with Save the Children on their School-Community Partnership for Education (SCOPE) project. 

 From January 13 to January 20, Kendra and Marysarah met with local publishers and offered first-hand insights into editorial, design and production processes. They also engaged directly with Rwandan young readers, writers and community members.  

Employee Volunteers Kendra Levin and Marysarah Quinn Bound for Rwanda

Save the Children, a non-profit organization that shares our passion for books and for creating the next generation of readers around the world, has selected Penguin Random House U.S. volunteer applicants Marysarah Quinn (SVP, Director of Creative Design, Crown) and Kendra Levin (Associate Editorial Director, Viking Books for Young Readers) to be the first publisher-funded volunteers to travel to Rwanda and work in partnership with the organization on their School-Community Partnership for Education (SCOPE) project.  Coinciding with our Community Day of Service on January 12, Marysarah and Kendra will leave on January 13 to volunteer their time on behalf of Penguin Random House for one full week in Kigali, Rwanda.

[caption id="attachment_9041" align="alignright" width="178"] Marysarah Quinn (SVP, Director of Creative Design, Crown)[/caption] “The Mureke Dusome  (meaning Let’s Read) team is incredibly excited for the Penguin Random House corporate volunteers’ visit this January,” said Heidi Schubert, Basic Education Specialist for Save the Children’s International Programs. Marysarah said, “I grew up in the various imprints of Penguin Random House—working here my entire adult life. I have always felt incredibly proud and lucky to work with the very best in the industry. It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to share what I have learned with our partners abroad. I am truly humbled to have been chosen and so excited about this project!” [caption id="attachment_9042" align="alignleft" width="254"] Kendra Levin (Associate Editorial Director, Viking Books for Young Readers)[/caption] Kendra commented, “I’m honored to represent Penguin Random House and forge these relationships with publishers in Kigali. Penguin Random House is such a global company and every time I’ve had the chance to connect with publishing colleagues abroad, it’s created a rich exchange of information and ideas. I’m thrilled that Penguin Random House has found a way to blend a meeting of the minds with its mission of corporate social responsibility.” Save the Children has been working with the local publishing industry in Rwanda for the last five years, helping it to grow from four small publishing houses to over 10.  Each of them now has books approved by the Rwanda Ministry of Education for use in public schools.  This Mureke Dusome project is USAID-funded and being implemented by Save the Children and its partner organizations. Kendra and Marysarah will provide local Rwandan publishers with key insights about what it means to be a professional publisher and how to balance the various elements involved in producing high quality children’s books – from editing the story to the illustrations and design process.  The sustainable, ongoing production of these high quality Kinyarwanda [the official language of Rwanda] storybooks will help to further inspire a love of reading among Rwandan primary school children.

Riverhead Raises $3,500 for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Each December, Riverhead Books throws a fundraising party for a literary nonprofit.  This year, hundreds of publishing folks, authors, media and book friends gathered at Lite Brite Neon in Brooklyn to drink beer, celebrate literature, and fundraise for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, a nonprofit devoted to supporting and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans.  Riverhead has benefited from their advocacy of many authors through the years, including Katie Kitamura, Dina Nayeri, Chang-rae Lee, and Mohsin Hamid.  Thanks to the generosity of the attendees, and the dazzling raffle prizes donated by Aftelier Perfumes and the 20×200 art print company, $3,500 was raised to support AAWW.

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Blog from Markus Dohle: Our Social Impact This Year

Dear Colleagues,

As 2017 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on our role and responsibility as publishers. In today’s divided world, books matter more than ever. Books, we know, have the power to connect and transform us. As a global community of book lovers, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. And I believe we do: with our publishing and through our corporate citizenship. Both drive the social impact we have as Penguin Random House. Today, I am pleased to be writing to share our first-ever Social Impact Highlights Summary, which showcases how our company operates responsibly and complements our publishing efforts by going beyond the day-to-day activities of the business to give back to our communities, both locally and globally, across our territories.

One of my strongest convictions is that our social responsibility efforts are essential to who we are and what we do as Penguin Random House. From championing freedom of expression and creativity, to promoting diversity and inclusion, to reducing our carbon footprint, we have set forth a number of 2020 Commitments that we are working hard to achieve through in-house initiatives and programs and through our partnerships with local and global nonprofit organizations. You’ll see some of these featured in our Highlights Summary. This good work, coupled with the brilliant books we publish every day, has ensured our meaningful and positive social impact in the world. Thank you for connecting our books with readers who learn from them, escape with them, and cherish them like we do. And thank you for embracing our collective responsibility to defend free speech, lift up marginalized voices, protect our earth, and help those in need. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together thus far, and am excited about our potential to do even more in 2018. I wish you a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable year-end break with your friends and family. Happy Reading,          

DK Donates $1 Million Worth of Children’s Books to TODAY Show’s Toy Drive

NBC TV’s The TODAY Show celebrates its 24th annual Toy Drive this month, and DK returned as a major donor, marking its 17th consecutive year of giving books to children in need.  On Tuesday, December 5, during Kathie Lee & Hoda’s segment in the 10 o’clock hour, Editor Allie Singer announced DK’s 2017 donation of $1,000,000 worth of brand new children’s books.  Allie was joined by Ava and Madeleine, the twin daughters of Simon Fraser, Vice President of Finance & Operations. The girls held up copies of some of DK’s lead holiday titles for the season: ANIMAL, 3rd Edition, GOOD NIGHT, BABY MOON and EXPLANATORIUM OF NATURE.   

[caption id="attachment_8899" align="alignright" width="300"] Allie Singer with Simon Fraser’s twin daughters Ava and Madeleine[/caption] Through the Toy Drive partnership with The TODAY Show, DK has donated nearly $20,000,000 worth of books to date. Click here to watch the DK TODAY show clip online.      

#GiveABook 2017 is Here: Giving Readers the Power to Support Disaster Relief & Local Communities Nationwide

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the fourth annual #GiveaBook on Giving Tuesday campaign, giving readers across the country the power to give back and donate Penguin Random House books to students and educators in their local communities and to support disaster relief efforts in impacted communities nationwide.

We've donated more than 185,000 books to children in need across the country through our #GiveaBook holiday season campaign since its inception in 2014. This year, we are donating an additional 50,000 books to First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational resources to children from low-income families. We’re giving you the chance to decide where up to 5 of these 50,000 books will go. To claim yours, visit our campaign site and choose your state - help those closest to you by selecting your home state, or help support disaster relief efforts by choosing those states with impacted communities. Thank you for joining us in celebrating the power of books and reading this holiday season, and helping to create our next generation of readers. Stay tuned to Igloo for more updates and be sure to #GiveaBook and give back.

10 Ways to Give Back with Books on #GivingTuesday

To celebrate #GivingTuesday, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite ways to give back and support books and reading this holiday season. Keep reading to learn how you can give the gift of reading, literacy and educatin through our long-time charitable partners.

1.     #GiveABook and Change a Life This holiday season, Penguin Random House is giving you up to 5 books to donate to your community through our fourth annual #GiveaBook holiday campaign. With your help, we have donated more than 185,000 books to children in need across the country through #Giveabook since its inception in 2014. This year, we’re donating an additional 50,000 books to children nationwide through First Book. Click here to  decide where up to 5 of these 50,000 books go by choosing which state to support. Help those closest to you by selecting your home state, or help support disaster relief efforts by choosing a state with impacted communities.   2.     Help Humans Heal with Good Dog Therapy Program The Good Dog Foundation trains, certifies, and fields therapy dog teams to ease human suffering and promote recovery from trauma and stress. Alongside helping people who suffer from health and mental issues, Good Dig teams visit schools and libraries to conducts anti-bullying workshops, work with children who are living with autism, and to assist children who are learning how to read. Earlier this year, Good Dog visited Penguin Random House with its therapy teams and was their chosen beneficiary of this year’s Global Walk. Donate to their campaign to help them reach their goal of $25,000 to train more therapy teams and help more people than ever before.   3.     Help Young Readers Get Ahead with Read Ahead Read Ahead ignites a love of reading in young students in New York City through mentoring, improving their confidence as well as their odds for success in school and life. Help nourish a passion for reading early in life and spread the joy of mentoring this holiday season by by making a one-time or recurring contribution by clicking here. 4.     Buy One, Give One with Penguin Random House and Zulily Penguin Random House is helping zulily kick off National Family Literacy Month this November with its first-ever interactive book fair, running now through December 10. Six sales events will feature a curated selection of children’s books, and each book purchased will trigger a donation from Penguin Random House to First Book. First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and other essentials to children in need, is aiding teachers, students and schools affected by the recent hurricanes. Look for the “Buy One, Give One” badge highlighted on the website and on featured books found in select events.   5.     Give a Gift of Joy with Save the Children Donate to Save the Children on #GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017, and your contribution will be doubled. Browse their Gifts of Joy Catalog to find your perfect #GivingTuesday gift. Choose to educate a girl for just $75 and you’ll give the gift of books, resources, and access to an education. For less than 20 cents a day, you can change a girl’s life forever.   6.     Help to Defend Freedom of Expression with PEN America PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the US and worldwide. Support PEN America and their efforts to champion the freedom to write and to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Join Penguin Random House in supporting PEN America and become a member today.

  7.     Support the Literary Community with Poets and Writers Poets and Writers is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers. By subscribing to the Poets and Writers magazine and becoming a member at any level, you can help the non-profit with their mission to foster the professional development of poets and writers, promote communication throughout the literary community, and help create an environment in which the widest possible public can appreciate literature.

8.     Support UJA and Help People in need. Contribute to the UJA Federation of New York today and your support will have a global effect. Each year, UJA's work touches 4.5 million people in more than 70 countries through a network of more than 100 charitable organizations. Donate today and visit their new volunteer website,,  to find meaningful volunteer projects around New York City in the five boroughs, Westchester and LI.

9.     Put Girls First and Donate to the Malala Fund Join Malala Yousafzai’s #YesAllGirls movement and make a donation to support education programs for girls around the world. In her words, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” Help make it happen.

10.     Support Jumpstart and Make a Difference Because every child deserves a jump start, donate now and your gift will support Jumpstart’s early education program, providing children who are at risk of failing school with the support they need to be successful in preschool and ready for life.  

Give the Best Books All Season Long with Help from the Penguin Hotline

The busiest gifting season is approaching, and the Penguin Hotline is back in business! Inspired by the Butterball Turkey Hotline, the Penguin Hotline, now in its fourth year, offers free personalized book recommendations via email for everyone on your holiday gift list. From November 28th through December 18th, simply fill out a quick form online and receive a curated list of suggestions from one of the hundreds of Penguin Random House employees on duty. In a world overrun by algorithms, the Hotline offers a more personal touch, recommending books from every publisher across the industry.

Don't forget to celebrate #GivingTuesday with books. Click here to learn more about how you can give back with books to those in need all giving season.