Books for Ownership

Grant Information

RIF’s Matching Grant Program is a cornerstone of our collective work to ensure that we provide access to books and literacy resources for as many students as possible. Stay tuned for updates relating to the next call for applications by registering on Literacy Network.

Check out a quick overview of last year's matching grant program. Complete details of last year’s grant program are also provided below.

Books for Ownership Overview

Books for Ownership, Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF) flagship reading program, is grounded in choice, access and engagement. It enables children to select new, age-appropriate books to take home and own and is supported by resources for caregivers, educators, and volunteers to create a continuous focus on reading. RIF’s 2020 Books for Ownership matching grant program provides awards to youth-serving organizations in the form of books for them to distribute to the children they serve to take home and own, building home libraries and creating a culture of literacy.

Grant Details

This matching grant is provided in the form of a book award, redeemable online in RIF’s Bookstore. Each applicant is required to submit a grant application for books needed to implement RIF’s Books for Ownership program, priced at $3 per book. The grant program requires local matching funds equal to the grant amount requested from RIF. Grantees will be invoiced for the local matching funds and payment for the match must be sent to RIF prior to receiving a book allocation award.

For example, if you plan to serve 100 children in your community providing them with one book each, your grant request would be calculated as 100 children x 1 book x $3 = $300. RIF would award you a $150 book award and the other $150 would be matched with your organization’s local funds. RIF funds and local funds are combined for a final book award allocation to make your book selections in RIF’s online bookstore.

RIF’s matching grant program maximizes your impact. The grant program can benefit your organization from two different perspectives:

  1. the RIF grant award doubles the amount of money you have to purchase books for the children you serve.
  2. the RIF grant award enables you to purchase high-quality books that usually cost $3 at just half the cost of $1.50.

Want to check out our book inventory in the RIF online bookstore and make sure it fits your needs before applying? Log into RIF’s bookstore to explore the variety of titles offered for children birth through Grade 12. Please note that the inventory is subject to change and titles are not guaranteed.

RIF Bookstore Website:
Account Number and Password: RIFID000000


Eligible applicants include school districts, individual schools, public libraries, community-based organizations, civic organizations and other youth-serving entities that serve children birth through grade 12 and are able to provide the local matching portion of the grant and commit to implementing the Books for Ownership program during the grant period. If you currently have a 2019-2020 RIF Books for Ownership Matching Grant Award, all books from your current 2019-2020 award must be ordered online in RIF’s Bookstore by March 31, 2020 in order to be eligible to apply to our upcoming 2020-2021 matching grant, in accordance with your current grant award requirements. 

Grant Requirements

If awarded a RIF Books for Ownership Matching Grant, you commit to the following:

  • Remit payment to RIF for your organization’s local match (50%) amount of the grant award by the set deadline.
  • Remit signed award letter and required administrative documents to RIF by the set deadline.
  • Hold at least one book celebration (distribution) event during the program period to include a motivational activity – this is the event that enables each child to choose the book(s) to take home and own. Please note that a book celebration can be as small or as big as meets your needs.
  • Provide at least one book per a participating child (children must be able to choose their book(s)).
  • Order all books for your Books for Ownership program through the RIF online bookstore by March 2021.
  • Complete all program activities by April 2021.
  • Submit online program activity report to RIF by May 2021.
  • Submit one 30-second video of your organization’s book celebration for RIF to share across it’s communications channels by May 2021.
  • Highlight your organization’s matching grant award and program impact via one of your social media platforms by May 2021.

Grant Budget Calculation

When calculating the budget for your Books for Ownership matching grant request, use the following formula:

Total programmatic cost = (total number of students plan to serve x books plan to distribute per child) x $3 per book

RIF suggests adding a small cushion to the number of books requested to ensure all children have a choice when selecting their books (the last child to choose should have choice just like the first child!). Our standard book cushion is 10%. You will be easily able to add a 10% book cushion to your request in the application. If you choose to add this cushion, it will auto-calculate an updated total grant request.

Through the matching grant program, RIF will fund half of the total programmatic book cost and grantees are required to fund the other half. Please note that this grant does not fund non-book program costs (such as venue fees, event materials, food, etc.).

Award Details

  • RIF’s grant awards are only made in book allocations (rather than cash awards).
  • All books must be ordered on RIF’s online bookstore.
  • RIF’s matching grant program requires local matching funds equal to the amount requested from RIF (funding can be derived from a variety of sources including school budget, PTA, local businesses, local, state and federal funding like Title I dollars, etc.).
  • Each dollar requested from RIF must be monetarily matched by the grantee. The entire dollar amount (local match plus RIF grant award) will be converted into a book allocation award.
  • In-kind donations are not accepted for the required local matching funds.
  • Grantees will be invoiced for the local matching funds and payment for the match must be sent directly to national RIF.
  • Once funds are received, the grantee payment in combination with RIF’s matching grant will be uploaded into the online RIF Bookstore to be used for the purchase of books.
  • While there is no limit to the amount grantees can request in their grant application, RIF reserves the right to award a lower level than what was requested upon review of all grant applications.
  • RIF may not be able to award all applicants.

Award Evaluation Criteria

Each application will be reviewed based on demonstrated need, a complete program narrative that shares plans for choice, access and engagement, a thoughtful community engagement strategy, and expertise/experience in children’s literacy. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of RIF staff.

Key Dates:

Date Description
March 2, 2020


BFO Matching Grant Application Opens


March 18, 2020


BFO Matching Grant Informational Webinar
Watch the recording now:
March 30, 2020


BFO Matching Grant Application Closes


April 27, 2020


BFO Matching Grant Awards Announced


May 5, 2020


BFO Matching Grant Program Awardee Webinar


May 15, 2020


Signed Award Letter, Administrative Documents and Payment Due to RIF from Grantees


June 2020


Program Implementation and Book Purchases Begin


March 2021


Book Ordering by Grantee must be Complete


April 2021


Program Implementation by Grantee must be Complete


May 2021


Program Activity Report, Social Media Post, and Video Submission for Grantees Deadline


Preview the Application

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