Inspire. Change.

Making a Difference

Alta Gracia | Reading is Fundamental | Follett Challenge | Thirst Project

Our long-standing commitment to the communities we serve is actively cultivated in a spirit of giving that is present throughout all our operating units.

Delivering the right assortment of products in an omni-channel business requires partnership with brands that reflect the Follett Values, as well as the values of campus partners and more than 47 million students across all Follett businesses.

For associates, Follett also offers a widely utilized gift matching program that reaches out to the community and resonates at the heart of our corporate culture. And through the Follett Educational Foundation, we help children of Follett associates realize the dream of receiving a college education. During the past decade alone, the Follett Educational Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to the sons and daughters of Follett associates.

Thirst Project

Earlier this year, Follett expanded its relationship with the Thirst Project to engage students across North America and empower them to make a difference in the world. As the largest campus store retailer, we have the unique opportunity to support student interests outside of the classroom, especially those interests that allow students to give back to communities and support access to a better life.

Can You Dig It?

The Can You Dig It? contest focused on educating students about Follett’s relationship with Better World Books (BWB) and how their book donations support the Thirst Project. Follett ran a sweepstakes in a select group of stores to find two students to go on a life-changing journey with the Thirst Project. Two lucky winners, University of Florida’s Sylvia Lai and San Francisco State University's Kayla Durham, along with Follett's Alysa Ojeda, joined the Thirst Project on a 10-day trip to Swaziland where they helped build and celebrate well projects.

  • Since January, our BWB relationship has raised $40,000 for the Thirst Project!
  • A photo album documenting the Swaziland trip is now posted on the Follett Facebook page.

We were proud to see the results of this effort on display during the 6th Annual Thirst Gala, when the Thirst Project premiered a documentary that featured two winners from Follett's 'Can You Dig It?' campaign. Follett is honored to have played a role in connecting these students with a very worthy cause.

Follett & Thirst Project Documentary

We're excited to share this documentary with you. Simply click here to watch the video.

Alta Gracia

In 2010, Follett announced a partnership with Alta Gracia - a groundbreaking clothing line produced at the first-ever apparel factory in the developing world that pays its workers a living wage, demonstrating full respect for workers' rights. Workers in the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic are paid about three times what a typical factory worker makes in the country, eliminating barriers to basic life needs. This living wage is enough to provide an entire family access to three healthy meals a day, a safe home, transportation, healthcare and education-things that many take for granted every day.

For 2014, Follett is proud to announce the expansion of its business relationship with Alta Gracia. With Follett's commitment to three large apparel programs at over 800 stores, Alta Gracia, for the first time, has the necessary volume to be a sustainable business.

Reading is Fundamental

Among our strongest initiatives is our sponsorship of the critically acclaimed Reading is Fundamental program (RIF), which promotes literacy and a love for reading among underprivileged youth. As one of the largest sponsors of RIF in Chicago, Follett Corporation sponsors four Chicago Public Schools so they can participate in the program. In addition, we donate thousands of children's books to RIF's Parent Community Organization program, which helps parents promote reading at home.

Each year, we sponsor the Follett Essay and Poster Contest for Reading is Fundamental in Chicago. This popular contest encourages children participating in RIF to develop their writing skills while exploring the many advantages of reading. More than 2,000 students compete each year for cash prizes and books provided by Follett and the opportunity to be featured in a full-page ad in The Chicago Sun-Times.

Follett Challenge

It has become increasingly important that educators teach the 21st century skills students need in order to be prepared for life. The Follett Challenge promotes and advocates for educators who teach these skills and gives them a platform to share innovation with their school communities and the world. Each year Follett awards $200,000 in products and services to the most innovative programs that develop critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration between students and among educators. FollettChallenge.com

Thirst Project

The Thirst Project is a nonprofit organization working to end the global water crisis - a problem that currently affects more than one billion people. To generate and promote access to clean water, Thirst engages students across the U.S. in spreading awareness and raising the necessary funds to build water wells around the world. The Thirst Project and Follett share an important goal to increase access to fundamental resources that improve lives. For Thirst, it's clean water. At Follett, it's about learning.

By supporting an organization that drives sustainable access to clean water, we're also helping eliminate a huge obstacle to the classroom. Follett's ongoing support of The Thirst Project includes the donation of proceeds from select products, annual sponsorship of the Thirst Gala and continued partnership in sharing Thirst's mission with the more than five million students served by Follett campus stores. To date, Follett has provided funds to build five wells and continues to sponsor fundraising efforts.

Photo caption: Afterschool boys drink from well, source: Thirst Project