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United Way of Salt Lake kicks off ‘Startup Santa’ book drive

United Way of Salt Lake is partnering with Beehive Startups and Silicon Slopes this holiday season to hold a statewide children’s book drive for those in need.
United Way of Salt Lake is partnering with Beehive Startups and Silicon Slopes this holiday season to hold a statewide children’s book drive for those in need.
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SALT LAKE CITY — United Way of Salt Lake is partnering with Beehive Startups and Silicon Slopes this holiday season to hold a statewide children’s book drive for those in need.

From now through Dec. 4, companies throughout the state will compete against each other to see which one can donate the most books and funds to support literacy programs for those living in low-income families.

Then between Dec. 5 and 15, United Way of Salt Lake will coordinate opportunities for participating companies and their leaders to read to children attending Utah Title I elementary schools.

“Students who are not reading are grade level are less likely to graduate from high school and go on to college,” Bill Crim, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake, said in a statement. “This time of year presents us with so many opportunities to volunteer and donate — supporting literacy is the best gift we can give low-income students and our community.”

Last year, Startup Santa raised $67,000. This year, the program hopes to double the number of books donated and double the number of dollars raised.

Although this effort is being championed by the startup and tech industries, any organization can get involved. Sign up at www.startupsanta.org. The book drive goes through Sunday, Dec. 4. The public can also sign up for volunteer reading events happening Dec. 5-15.