In 1992, Kyle Zimmer, then a corporate attorney, was volunteering regularly at a soup kitchen in Washington DC. Realizing that the kids she was working with had no books to call their own, she set out with some friends to remedy the situation. Twenty-one years and more than 110 million brand-new books later, Kyle continues to lead First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise she co-founded to ensure that local schools and community programs across the country serving children from low-income families would have a steady supply of the brand-new, high-quality books they so desperately needed.
Under Kyle’s leadership, First Book distributes millions of new books and educational resources every year to a growing network of schools and programs across the United States and Canada – nearly 90,000 at last count. Kyle is a passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, educational equity, and the importance of literacy to further economic competitiveness and global understanding.
In 2013 Kyle was a presenter at the University of Oxford’s “Power Shift: Forum for Women in the World Economy” at the Saïd Business School at Oxford. Among numerous other honors, Kyle Zimmer received the 2014 Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation in November 2014.