Marathon Oil believes the foundation of a strong community is a quality education system. As part of the company’s investments in education, we place an emphasis on literacy because the inability to read and write can impact every aspect of a person’s quality of life – and the journey to learn to read begins in early childhood. Populations at-risk for unemployment, low educational attainment and lack of access to healthcare overlap with areas where low literacy rates are highest.
Since 2017, Marathon Oil has partnered with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) and their My Home Library program. This program gives children books so they can develop reading skills that will create a pathway to success in life. Through the My Home Library program, elementary school students receive a personal “home library” with a number of new books at no cost to the student or their school.
While the foundation is focused on the Greater Houston area, in 2021 we started working with BBHLF to bring this powerful program to the communities where we live and work outside of Houston. This winter, we brought the program to 5 different elementary schools. One each in Houston, TX; Dickinson, ND; Watonga, OK; Carlsbad, NM; and Karnes City, TX.
Marathon Oil, the BBHLF and the schools’ leadership teams designed the events to build the students’ excitement for reading through special activities, incentives, and read-alouds from Marathon Oil volunteers. During this year’s events, Marathon Oil distributed more than 13,000 books with the help of 48 volunteers!
The pilot program began with 600 students at a local elementary school in Houston. Since the launch of the program, Marathon Oil has provided more than 40,000 books to students’ home libraries and the Foundation is now serving almost 30,000 children annually. Since inception, the Foundation has invested in almost 130,000 home libraries.