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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.
Current Programs
Give Back, Give Books
Spring into Music
College Access Network
Last Dollar Grants
Collaborative Efforts
Wilson Outdoor Club
The Dr. Walter Cooper Academy Fund
One Step Closer
Past Programs
Friends of The World of Inquiry School
National Academy Foundation
Music Through the Ages
Book and a Blanket
Recipe for Success
Rochester city schools receive one-third as much library funding as Monroe County suburban schools.
-- Rochester City School District

Give Back, Give Books

Give Back, Give Books gives books to city school students to take home or for city school libraries. Launched in 2006, we accept and distribute new
books, encourage exciting literacy events with book distributions, and engage community members. We have collected and distributed more than 40,000 new books to city students and to city school libraries.


Design: Antithesis Advertising
Photos: Studio 2-B


REF distributes most of the books through our Teachers' Choice application process. We offer new books to Rochester City School District and charter school educators serving city students.


Our theme this year is "Planet Earth: A Wide World of Reading." Many educators chose that theme. For the first time, we also offered magazine subscriptions thanks to the Gannett Foundation.


More than 100 educators applied to the program. A total of 42 educators recevied either books or magazine subscriptions for the 2017-18 year.

Click here for the list of 2017-18 recipients

Teachers' Choice applicants may use books in projects supporting literacy such as student book clubs, parent-child reading events and other activities or events. Most books donated for teacher projects are required to be given to students for their home libraries by the end of the school year. Educators can choose to keep a class set.

Participating students and teachers have responded enthusiastically. As a teacher directing a high school student book club at lunchtime noted: "They were very excited to see what books were available, especially those in a series ... They used each other as resources and engaged in conversation about the books."

We accept new books and the funds to buy more books. REF encourages companies and organizations to conduct drives for new books. Book drives for Give Back, Give Books have been conducted by M&T Bank, Kodak's Corporate Business Research Division, the University Health Service of the University of Rochester, St. John Fisher College and Empire Justice Center.

Sound interesting? We'll be happy to work with you on a book or fundraising campaign of your own to encourage this positive support of student reading.

We'll give the books away or we will work with your group, class or business if you would like to give the books personally to students at a city school.

Did you know that...

  • Many city school students do not have books at home.
  • The average fiction book in city school libraries was about 20 years old when we started our program a decade ago.
  • Providing books to children and school libraries is a proven way to help students become more successful academically and in the future.

Support the Program


Use the button at right to make a donation in support of REF and Give Back, Give Books.

Teachers' Choice is supported by REF's donors and by grants from the Gannett Foundation, Fund to Benefit Gretchen's Kids, the Ames Amzalak Charitable Foundation, REF supporters and in-kind support from donors including students from Siena Catholic Academy.

Help us make a difference.

Would you like to:

  • launch a drive in your school, business or organization?
  • support the campaign with a donation?

You'll find all that and more on the Give Back, Give Books website:

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