National Book Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The National Book Foundation oversees the prestigious National Book Awards and funds various programs, honors, and awards related in some way to books, reading, and writing.

IP TAKE: This funder supports literacy and engagement programs for middle and high school students. Many of these programs and events prioritize New York City.

PROFILE: While the National Book Awards were created in 1950 by publishers, editors, writers, and critics to “honor the year’s best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry,” the National Book Foundation, the nonprofit organization which oversees the awards, was not established until 1989. The foundation seeks to “celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.” It supports K-12 education through its BookUp Program and the Teen Press Conference.

The National Book Foundation’s BookUp program seeks to connect “middle- and high-school students with local authors,” and it “runs free reading groups designed to improve participants’ social, emotional, and literacy skills.” The program operates out of 20 different sites in New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Huntsville, TX.

The Teen Press Conference program seeks to create opportunities for middle and high school students to interact with authors at a free literary event “curated just for them.” Events are held at the 92nd Street Y the day before the National Book Awards ceremony. Teenagers can sign up for the mailing list to be notified when registration opens for the next year’s event. New grant seekers can contact Jordan Smith, Director of Education at jsmith@national for more information.

General inquiries and requests for information can be made at


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