17 April 08 | Chad W. Post

According to PW:

President Bush’s proposed 2009 budget eliminates all the funding for Reading Is Fundamental’s book distribution program that has, since 1966, provided more than 325 million books to more than 30 million underprivileged children.

“With 13 million children living in poverty in this country, the need for RIF has never been greater,” said RIF CEO/president Carol Rasco, The annually funded RIF program is currently approved through September 2009, but if Bush’s budget is approved, 4.6 million children will not receive 16 million free books the following year. RIF, the oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organization in the U.S, has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975.

Just what the world needs now—more money for war diplomacy.

RIF’s Web site (www.RIF.org) provides a link for supporters to find their senator and representative and send an email message to them and President Bush in support of continued funding. The appropriation committee will be meeting in May and June to decide on budgets.

The best part of this story is the bit about Bush’s ties to RIF:

Ironically, while President Bush continually overlooks the organization, both his wife and mother have held positions within the organization. Barbara Bush served on RIF’s Board of Directors from 1980 to 1988 and then on its National Advisory Board from 1989 to 1992 (chairing the Advisory Board for three of the four years.) Laura Bush served on RIF’s National Advisory Council from 1996 to 2001.

The good news?

This is the second time the Bush administration has tried to cut RIF’s funding. Bush’s first budget proposal in 2001 originally allotted no money for the organization. “There was an uproar across the country and it was reinstated,” said Walter.


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