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Thousands of KPMG employees in more than 85 offices across the country are uniting to read “out loud” in a firm-wide service project that will produce recordable books as gifts for disabled and underprivileged children during the holiday season.
Called “Operation Season’s gREADings Out Loud!,” the KPMG holiday program focuses on bringing pairs of employees together from different levels and functions within the firm to read books such as “Goodnight Moon,” “Curious You: On Your Way!,” and “We’re Not Scared of Anything.” The books will be distributed by KPMG’s employees to hospitals, non-profit organizations and schools.
The holiday project is the latest literacy drive for the audit, tax and advisory firm, which has delivered more than 1,600,000 books to disadvantaged children in local communities across the country through KPMG’s Family for Literacy initiative, which began four years ago, in cooperation with the literacy non-profit organization First Book.
“We have a long history at KPMG of investment in communities where we and our clients live and work, and this is particularly true in our efforts to improve literacy,” said John Veihmeyer, Chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP.
“We’re excited by the positive impact that ‘Operation Season’s gREADings Out Loud!’ will have as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that all children have access to one of the most important tools needed to prepare them for future success. We also hope that putting a book in a child’s hand brightens their face and enhances the way they experience the holidays this year.”
Veihmeyer added: “Keeping in mind that one of the greatest barriers to children’s literacy is access to books, this initiative — which we believe may be the first to use recordable books on this scale nationwide — provides another opportunity for KPMG to support children and families in our communities by engaging our skills, knowledge, passions and financial resources to make a real difference.”
The “Operation Season’s gREADings Out Loud!” initiative’s centerpiece is an interactive component that pairs employees throughout the United States to produce the recordable books in 15-minute book-reading sessions. By doing so, the program is designed to also create a unique “esprit de corps” experience for the KPMG “co-reader” employee pairs.
“Importantly, ‘Operation Season’s gREADings’ will bring thousands of our employees together, connecting individuals across our teams who might not normally interact on a daily basis,” said Henry Keizer, KPMG Deputy Chairman and COO. “Every day, our people work as a team to serve our clients; now, through this initiative, they are coming even closer together to serve our communities and the needs of others.”
KPMG Chairman and CEO John Veihmeyer read “Goodnight Moon” with KPMG partner Christine Aspell, who works in the firm’s audit practice in Baltimore. KPMG Deputy Chairman and COO Henry Keizer read “Goodnight Moon” with Zoe Bogan, who works in KPMG’s financial services practice in New York.
This month, plans call for 11,000 books to be delivered to local charities chosen by each of the firm’s offices and then presented to children in need in time for the holidays. As part of “Operation Season’s gREADings Out Loud!,” for example, the firm’s Montvale, N.J., employees will provide books to the children of military families through organizations including Operation Military Kids, Blue Star Families, the USO and the Warfighters Family Readiness Center.
“We recognize the unique challenges that certain children face as they attempt to acquire the key skill of reading,” said Veihmeyer, who pointed out that KPMG will also be donating an additional 14,000 traditional books to children in need across the country, bringing the anticipated number of books donated by the firm to 25,000 during the 2011 holiday season.
This year’s holiday giving program is the latest example of KPMG’s Family for Literacy book-giving initiative. Through the initiative, the KPMG community of partners and employees, spouses and families, interns, retirees and alumni fund the purchase of books, conduct reading programs in schools, and work with literacy programs to give disadvantaged children brand-new books.