Amazon launches the Kindle Reading Fund to expand digital reading around the world

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Amazon today announced a new program called the Kindle Reading Fund which is aimed at making digital books more easily available worldwide. The Fund will donate a number of Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets as well as e-books to communities around the world, in conjunction with various partner organizations. In addition to schools, libraries, PTAs, hospitals and other nonprofits, Amazon is also now working with Worldreader to help support its reading programs in the developing world.

Worldreader’s organization is tasked with bringing reading and literacy to the globe. Over the course of the past 6 years, they’ve helped more than 4 million readers access a library of books, according to Amazon’s announcement about its involvement with the group.

The company says its new collaboration with Worldreader will see Amazon donating thousands of Kindle e-readers to developing nations. The two have worked together previously, however. For example, Amazon recently supported Worldreader’s LEAP 2.0 library partnership in Kenya, which reaches around 500,000 people by bringing digital reading to 61 libraries in the country.

Amazon additionally has donated thousands of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets to students and teachers, and is working with the National PTA to get parents involved with children’s reading through the Family Reading Experience program. It has donated to hospitals and nonprofits, like the Seattle Children’s Hospital, Mary’s Place, Rainier Scholars, Well Spring Family Services and others in the Seattle area, as well.

The retailer says it will roll existing programs into the Fund, like its school donations which it does near fulfillment centers. However, for organizations like Worldreader where it had donated in the past, it’s only considering the current donations as a part of the fund.

Amazon declined to say how much money is earmarked for the fund.

The new Kindle Fund is more of a formalizing of these earlier efforts, and is also now opening up Amazon to donation requests from 501(c)(3) organizations and schools in communities. Through a form on the Fund’s website, organizations – which don’t have to be U.S.-based – can reach out and request support and receive a response from Amazon in 10 days.