1. What is the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation?

Since 2004, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has been dedicated to putting books in the hands of Canadian children at high-needs elementary schools. This is part of our commitment to transforming the lives of children across the country by inspiring in them a love of reading. Together with Indigo, its customers, and its employees, we have committed $35 million to over 3,500 high-needs schools, impacting more than 1 million children.

2. Why does the Foundation choose to focus on high-needs elementary schools?

Every child needs access to new and engaging books to develop the literacy skills that are critical for educational success and to inspire a love of reading. Due to insufficient funding for elementary school libraries, many children cannot access these new and engaging books.

The Foundation works to provide books to these schools with the goal that all Canadian children have access to the resources they need to develop strong literacy skills. By providing support to high-needs elementary schools, we are equipping teachers, librarians, and principals with the resources that are critical for promoting educational success and inspiring a love of reading.

3. How do you determine what elementary schools are high-needs?

The Foundation defines a high-needs school as a Canadian publicly funded elementary school that receives at least 80% of its funding from the provincial or federal government, that has a library budget of less than $30 per year per student, and where the school’s leadership identifies themselves as needing additional support for their school library and books more generally.

4. How does the Foundation support these schools?

The Foundation provides support to high-needs elementary schools primarily through two signature programs: the Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund grant and the Indigo Adopt a School program.

5. What is the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy Fund grant?

Through the generosity of Indigo, its customers, and its employees, the Foundation grants over $1 million in library support to high-needs schools across the country each year. Since 2004, 335 high-needs elementary schools have received a Literacy Fund grant. These Literacy Fund grant recipient schools receive funding over a multi-year period. For each program year, the grant recipient school receives 10% of the grant in the form of cash to spend on special projects that they believe will further promote literacy at their school, such as visits by special guest speakers and other literacy-related events. The grant recipient school receives the remaining 90% of the grant in the form of an Indigo corporate account for the purchase of new books at Indigo, Chapters, and Coles, which are provided at a 30% discount. Providing grants in this way allows the Foundation to efficiently track and manage grant spending, ensuring all funds are being utilized for their intended charitable purpose. This also allows schools to avoid incurring any shipping costs, including to rural and remote schools, which helps stretch grant dollars even further. In instances where this approach does not meet the specific needs of a grantee, accommodations can always be made.

6. What is the Indigo Adopt a School program?

Each year, the Indigo Adopt a School program unites Indigo, its employees, its customers, and their communities in raising money to rejuvenate local high-needs elementary school libraries across Canada. Each Indigo, Chapters or Coles store adopts a local high-needs elementary school to support through in-store fundraising as well as an Online book registry where supporters can directly purchase book(s) online for an Adopted School.

7. How can my school apply for the Literacy Fund Grant/Adopt a School program?

Staff members of high-needs Canadian elementary schools are invited to apply for our programs during the following application times:

  • Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund Grant – November to January
  • Indigo Adopt a School program – February to March

Please note that your school board will need to be made aware of your application before submitting.

8. In previous years my school wasn’t partnered with a store but they were still able to participate in the Adopt a School program online. Why is this no longer an option?

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation in partnership with Indigo is always looking to enhance the ways we support literacy at high-needs elementary schools. To better align with our goal of providing support to schools with the most need, we have made necessary changes to the program including removing the online-only option. As of 2019, only schools who have been partnered with an Indigo, Chapters, or Coles location will be eligible to participate in Adopt a School.

9. What’s your basis for claiming that 30% of students lack basic literacy skills?

The Ontario EQAO study and the PISA study read in aggregate indicate that only 70% of students are meeting provincial reading standards in Grade 3 and the remaining approximately 30% of students fail to meet such standards. [1] [2] Unfortunately, there is no Canadian national reading standard for which children are tested nationally, so we rely on aggregated sources.

10. What is your basis for claiming that many elementary schools in economically disadvantaged communities in Canada can afford only 1 new library book a year for every 3 children?

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation supports approximately 600 high-needs Canadian elementary schools each year.  Many of these schools report that without the Foundation’s support, their library budgets are very limited and they are able to purchase only 1 new library book a year for every 3 students.

The information provided by these schools is supported by Dr. Ken Haycock, author of the report The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries, who has studied extensively the history of public school library funding from the 1970s through today. His research shows that Canadian schools budgeted to buy three books per child per year in 1970, whereas today’s school budgets allow for less than one-third of a book per child.

11. How is the Foundation funded?

100% of customer donations go directly to promoting children’s literacy initiatives in high-need communities in Canada. All of the Foundation’s operating and administrative expenses are funded by Indigo and its leadership.

12. Where do customer donations go?

Every dollar donated to the Foundation by customers goes directly to promoting children’s literacy initiatives in high-needs communities in Canada. When high-needs schools or non-profit organizations use foundation program funds to purchase books at Indigo, Chapters, and Coles, they receive a 30% discount.

13. Do schools receive a discount on books?

All schools that participate in the Foundation’s programs receive a 30% discount on the purchase of books at Indigo, Chapters and Coles when using funding provided by the Foundation.

14. What are some of the ways Indigo employees support the Foundation?

The Foundation’s relationship with Indigo employees is an essential part of what makes the Foundation impactful. Indigo employees are involved in all aspect of the Foundation’s programming, including the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy Fund grant program and the Indigo Adopt a School program.

Indigo employees share their passion for literacy and the importance of supporting high- needs elementary school libraries with Indigo customers and, more generally, their communities. They also play a key role in supporting the schools that receive funds from the Foundation, for example, providing recommendations to educators as to what books may inspire a school’s students to become passionate readers.

15. How can I make a donation?

The Foundation relies on the generous donations of Indigo customers, Indigo employees and members of the public who are committed to literacy. We welcome your donations at all Indigo, Chapters, and Cole stores, and online.

All customer donations go directly to promoting children’s literacy in high-needs communities in Canada.

16. Can I get a tax receipt for my donation?

Donations made in Indigo, Chapters, and Coles stores are eligible for tax receipts upon request by emailing the Foundation team at loveofreading@indigo.ca with a copy of the receipt and the following customer contact information: donor’s full name, complete Canadian mailing address, and email address.

For donations made online at loveofreading.org, tax receipts will automatically be provided if the donation is $20 or more and will be provided upon request if the donation is less than $20. To request a tax receipt, please email the Foundation team at loveofreading@indigo.ca with a copy of the receipt and the following contact information: donor’s full name, complete Canadian mailing address, and email address.

17. What is the indigo 1% pledge?

Indigo has pledged to donate 1% of the annual net proceeds from the sale of every children’s book purchased at Indigo to supporting children in high-needs communities across Canada. Indigo has been a foundational partner of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation since its inception and to date has been the largest single donor. This announcement marks a renewed commitment to giving back to high-needs communities across Canada and an opportunity to bring our customers along that journey every time they purchase a children’s book.

18. More questions?

Please email the Foundation team at loveofreading@indigo.ca.