Read Aloud America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1995 by Jed Gaines, a Honolulu businessman and entrepreneur.

It is the parent organization for a family-centered program called RAP, the Read Aloud Program. 

Through RAP, Read Aloud America carries out its mission to promote literacy, bond families and build communities of lifetime readers. 

On Dec. 29, the editors of The Maui News published an article titled “Lost funding has put brakes on local Read Aloud program.” Staff writer Colleen Uechi featured the background of the lost funding and highlighted that “cost cutting has led to loss of vans, use of U-Haul vehicles.”

With a copy of The Maui News in hand, Founder/President Jed Gaines set a meeting with Tony Honda Group in Honolulu. As a result of this meeting, the Tony Honda Group offered Gaines “an amazing discounted offer” with the purchase of a 2018 Odyssey van to be shipped to Maui for Read Aloud America use.

Gaines personally purchased the vehicle because program funds are still inadequate for such an expense. On the same day, Gaines was approached by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. This donor handed Gaines a check for $50,000.

The stipulation was the use of these funds to continue the nonprofit to operate while seeking grants and funding for future school programs.

Operations Director Larry Laird is in the process of writing and submitting the grant applications for such funding.

With the arrival of the new van, Read Aloud America can safely make the monthly trip to Hana for the 21st Century Grant programs without having to make the trip in rental vans.

Read Aloud America is so grateful to The Maui News for the feature article regarding our financial plight. We are hoping that the pending grant applications and other donations will be fruitful so that we may continue to bring our evening family literacy program back to schools on Maui.

For more information about Read Aloud America programs and how you, your organization or business can help, please go to the Read Aloud America website: www.readaloudamerica.org.

* Joanne Laird serves as the Maui County program director and presenter for Read Aloud America.