Build-A-Bear marked Giving Tuesday 2023 with expanded partnerships and a promise to donate one million books and 100,000 bears by 2027 through the nonprofit First Book. 

Build-A-Bear Foundation, the charitable arm of Build-A-Bear Workshop, is continuing its mission to inspire creativity and help children and families in need. With its Giving Tuesday promise, the organization has further established its focus on children’s literacy as a core pillar of its charitable work. 

Research has shown that stuffed animals can have a positive influence in a learning setting, while exposure to books has been shown to expand vocabulary and lay the groundwork for better reading skills in life. Build-A-Bear Foundation has embraced both of these concepts.

Build-A-Bear Foundation has impacted more than 500,000 kids in 2022 and 2023 through its partnership with First Book and initiatives such as the “Buy A Bear, Give A Bear” promotion on National Teddy Bear Day in September. Plus, purchases of Build-A-Bear’s Read Teddy support the organization’s core pillar of giving. A portion of these proceeds go to supporting the foundation’s literacy work by helping children and families achieve their best futures.

The partnership between Build-A-Bear Foundation and First Book began several years ago and reignited in 2022 for a five-year commitment, reflecting a joint pledge to inspire creativity through reading. Since 2022, Build-A-Bear Foundation has donated 225,000 books through First Book. The two organizations committed to reaching even more children and agreed to distribute one million books to kids who need them most over the next five years. They will also find 100,000 furry friend Reading Buddies new homes by 2027.

“We are thrilled to share the joy of literacy through the donations of books and bears to children across the globe,” says Chris Hurt, President of Build-A-Bear Foundation. “As Build-A-Bear grows, our responsibility to our core value of GIVE grows with us. Through the next few years, we plan on continuing our focus on ambitious bear and book donations and heartfelt partnerships to support those in need. Our teams make all of this possible — along with every donation by guests and associates — and Build-A-Bear Foundation is given more opportunities to make furry friends a force for good everywhere.”

In addition to working with First Book, Build-A-Bear Foundation has formed partnerships with international organizations and projects local to their headquarters. Through donations of funds and furry friends to UK charity BookTrust, the Foundation is helping BookTrust encourage children and families from low-income backgrounds to read and share stories together. Build-A-Bear Foundation also sponsors literacy labs in the U.S. to inspire learning spaces with inclusive stories.

Consumers are invited to join the cause this Giving Tuesday and throughout this season via in-store pin pad donations and online donations, as well as by making a purchase of Read Teddy.

About the author

Maggie Dougherty

Maggie Dougherty

Maggie Dougherty is an editorial intern at Adventure Media & Events. She is a senior at Iona University in New Rochelle, New York, where she studies digital media and production. In her free time, Maggie can be found watching Conan O’Brien videos on YouTube, reading biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson, or listening to the Succession soundtrack.