March 28, 2016

Tata group promotes literacy with a gift of 10,000 books to school children in the Bronx, New York

TCS to host reading event at urban scholars community school in partnership with First Book and New York 79th District Assembly member Michael A Blake

New York, NY: The Tata group today announced that the company will be donating 10,000 new books to children in New York’s 79th assembly district in the Bronx, in partnership with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise and assembly member Michael A Blake.  To celebrate this historic effort, one of the Tata group companies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), will host a ‘Read-A-Loud’ with pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students at Urban Scholars Community School, where each of these 300+ students will receive two books to add to their personal libraries at home.  The celebration, on Monday, March 28th will be hosted with New York’s 79th District State Assembly member Michael A Blake; Balaji Ganapathy, head of workforce effectiveness in North America at TCS, along with executives from Tata group including Shankar Venkateswaran, chief of Tata Sustainability Group, and James Shapiro, resident director of North America, Tata Sons. This event is part of TCS’ ongoing efforts to foster the growth and stability of students within the local community.

Balaji Ganapathy, head of workforce effectiveness in North America at TCS, speaks to children at a school in the Bronx about the importance of reading and TCS' commitment to education

“Advocating literacy and enabling books to be a daily part of students’ lives is critical to their academic careers,” said Mr Ganapathy. “With the Tata group’s gift of 10,000 books to the children in the Bronx, we hope to inspire and ignite their passion for reading and learning that will carry them to greater successes in their futures. Our partnership with First Book and Assembly member Blake not only makes a lasting contribution to the educational development of local students in the Bronx, but also encourages volunteerism among our employees.”

“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be part of an initiative that supports the importance of reading to the students in my assembly district,” said Mr Blake. “As a former student of Bronx public schools who represents the most diverse assembly district that is owed the most public school funding, with Tata’s generous gesture and First Book’s support, our students in the South Bronx will appreciate books both in the classroom and at home.”

“Reading opens students’ minds to new worlds and possibilities, and it is wonderful for them to have books at home that they can treasure and call their own,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I thank Tata, First Book, and Assemblymember Michael Blake for their partnership and commitment to Bronx students.”

"Assemblyman Blake understands literacy is fundamental to success. Every student in New York State should have the same access to quality instructional materials, regardless of where they live. Charitable giving, like today's book donation from the Tata group and First Book, helps to level the playing field and is gratefully welcomed. But it also underscores the need to provide adequate resources to our communities with the greatest challenges," said New York State Board of Regents Chancellor-elect Betty Rosa.

"Giving a child a book is like opening a door to the future. Assemblyman Blake has helped bring students the power of words and the energy of a strong vocabulary that make all things possible,” said New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Donations like this from the Tata group and First Book remind us of the need to make sure every student, no matter where they live or what school they go to, has access to the resources they need to build the strength of literacy they need to succeed." 

Pamella Rodrigues, program lead, CSR and diversity and inclusion, North America, at Tata Consultancy Services, chats with children during an event to promote reading in the Bronx, New York

“Effective literacy strategies must lead to children and youth who not only read well but are well read. Our children and youth, like other children and youth, must be able to read, write, and speak fluently and knowledgeably, from a place of personal meaning, about the many subjects in their own and mainstream society.  The donation by Tata and First Book to Bronx public school students is an act of immeasurable impact and commitment to releasing the potential of all our children and youth,” said Dr Lester W Young, Jr, Regent At Large.

"Reading can expand your vocabulary, your mind and your possibilities, so I'm grateful to the Tata group and Assemblymember Blake for extending these opportunities to hundreds of students here in The Bronx through this generous donation of books and the read aloud initiatives", said Assemblymember and chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party Marcos Crespo.

This initiative is part of the Tata group’s ‘Tata Engage’ program, an annual volunteering program that encourages Tata’s global workforce of over 600,000 employees to donate their time and expertise to community members in need. Tata established its partnership with First Book in December 2007 and has since provided 350,000 new books, valued at approximately $2.8 million, to children across the US and Canada in the markets where Tata group companies operate.