2% for Start Lighthouse

2% for Start Lighthouse

Advancing childhood literacy in NYC through a social justice lens.

Jul 18, 2023

As part of our ongoing commitment to community, Loisa donates 2% of sales each month to a social or food justice organization. For the month of July, we have chosen to support Start Lighthouse, a non-profit dedicated to improving childhood literacy within public schools in the Bronx.

Over half of the public schools in New York City have defunct libraries. In the Bronx, nearly 70% of children are reading below their grade level. Start Lighthouse emerged to change these facts — launched in March 2020, Start Lighthouse is on a mission to raise childhood literacy. Through their innovative literacy hubs that serve as a space for students to gather year-round and after hours, as well as a dedication toward providing age-appropriate and culturally-appropriate books, Start Lighthouse is making a significant impact on young readers' lives. 

Led by a board of directors with direct experience in higher education, Start Lighthouse's multifaceted strategy focuses on taking defunct libraries and transforming them into robust home libraries for children in the community. In addition, they focus on programming that also engages family members and caregivers, as well as hosting interactive workshops with multicultural authors and artists. These events and workshops help get the community involved and excited about reading. They also allow students the opportunity to engage directly with diverse storytellers, fostering creativity and cultural appreciation.


Representation matters, especially in the books children read. Start Lighthouse understands the importance of diverse narratives and aims to provide children with books that reflect their identities and experiences. Currently, only 5% of books feature Latinx main characters, highlighting the need for more inclusive literature. By addressing these disparities head-on, Start Lighthouse is working to close the achievement gap and empower children with the necessary tools for success.

Since its inception, Start Lighthouse has supported 5,700 students, delivered an impressive 23,692 multicultural books, and provided over 750 hours of engaging programming. These efforts have led to partnerships with eight schools, demonstrating the organization's commitment to expanding its reach and fostering a love for reading within the community.

Here’s what a student had to say about her experience being involved with Start Lighthouse:

"I'm left breathless at the fact that we have a Literacy Hub that provides a joyous environment to me and my peers. I adore the fact that my little sisters can open up a book and find the beauty within their hair. I love hearing “Me too” and seeing myself within a new character. At some point I was that 5 year old little girl yearning for that diversity and here we are now with such access at our finger tips. This is because of Start Lighthouse." - Mariah, Age 13

Start Lighthouse is an inspiring force in the fight against illiteracy, embracing diversity and social justice in childhood literacy. By empowering children with books that reflect their experiences, Start Lighthouse is helping shape a brighter future for all.


Learn more about how to donate and support Start Lighthouse here


Learn about volunteer opportunities with Start Lighthouse here


Get in touch with Start Lighthouse here.