Community Giving

Corporate Responsibility

People packing United Way literacy kits

For nearly 30 years, Capstone has invested in our people and local communities. Social responsibility has always been a cornerstone of our business and a belief that guides so many of our decisions. Our initiatives focus on community service and strengthening communities by supporting literacy programs, expanding educational opportunities, volunteerism, and caring for people and the environment. Our Capstone community giving program partners with organizations who share our ideals of promoting literacy and a reading culture to change lives. 

Capstone believes in children — their dreams and their successes — and we know that reading and literacy gives them a head start and increases their opportunities to have a lasting impact on their lives. Access to books should not be a barrier to reading. As a children’s book publisher, we’re in a unique position to help.
 

Education and Literacy Partners

Even though we’re based in Minnesota, our Capstone community giving program extends well beyond our state, working with nonprofit partners nationally and globally to help underserved communities. Each year through the Capstone Community Fund we support more than 150 organizations’ initiatives with book donations, sponsorships, and employee volunteer time. 

People holding books at United Way Reading Festival

In 2019 alone, Capstone donated 350,000+ books to our partner organizations to get books into the hands of readers. Read more about how we are giving back and the causes that mean a lot to us in our annual giving report: 

If you would like to request a donation, please reach out to our corporate giving department.
 

Some of our long-standing partners include:

United Way Mankato logo

Greater Mankato Area United Way

We first joined forces with the United Way and their Books for Kids program in 2002 to help encourage early literacy skills and build home libraries. We've been a partner ever since. Each month participants in the program, ages 2 months through 4 years old, receive a children’s book to build up their home library. The program is based on research showing that children who have their own home library with as few as 5 books have significantly higher reading skills. Capstone has donated over 1 million books to the program.

Souther Minnesota Initiative Foundation logo

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF)

Since 2002, Capstone has sponsored SMIF’s Early Childhood Literacy Grant program, donating tens of thousands of books to support early literacy efforts to improve school readiness for children up to age 5. Grant recipients consist of local organizations working with families to support at-home reading through special programming and events. SMIF invests in early childhood efforts to ensure all children enter school fully encouraged, prepared, and supported for learning success.  

Books for Africa logo

Books for Africa

Books for Africa has one mission: to end the book famine in Africa. They believe that education is the great equalizer and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system. The organization collects and distributes books to African students, helping create a culture of literacy and providing tools of empowerment for the next generation. Since 2008, Capstone has donated 500,000+ books to help support a culture of literacy on the continent.

Bess the Book Bus logo

Bess the Book Bus

Bess the Book Bus builds home libraries and lifelong readers. A partner since 2009, Bess the Book Bus is a Tampa-based mobile literacy outreach dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap created by poverty. The book bus tours underserved communities across the United States, making book ownership a reality for 50,000+ kids each year. Bess the Book Bus envisions a future where all children have access to the basic resources they need to be successful in school and life. 

Children's Minnesota logo

Children's Minnesota

Capstone continues its partnership with Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system of hospitals, clinics, and specialty care sites, with food drives, book donations, and employee volunteer activities. We love being a part of the hospital’s Star Studio variety show which broadcasts to the hospital rooms, handing out our books to patients and families, and working with the children on fun projects, such as paper folding origami animals from Capstone books. 

Saint Paul Public Schools logo

Saint Paul Public Schools Mobile Café Food Truck

Each summer Saint Paul Public Schools’ Mobile Café Food Truck travels through low-income areas of the city handing out lunch to kids. Starting in 2015, one day each month Capstone volunteers tag along and hand out books to the children. We hope to encourage kids’ reading during the summer months and to ensure they have a book of their own at home.

Greater Good logo

GreaterGood.org

One of our newer partnerships is with GreaterGood.org, a charitable organization devoted to improving the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet, to facilitate book donations to partnering literacy organizations. Past community foundation donation recipients have included Bernie’s Book Bank, Kids Need to Read, Maryland Book Bank, Spread the Word Nevada, and schools affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Grand Bahama Island.

Corporate Volunteering Program

Capstone employee volunteering time

Capstone community support motivates and empowers its employees to actively build relationships and give back in their communities.

Each year employees are gifted 16 hours paid time off to volunteer community service time with a local nonprofit organization that is meaningful to them. Capstone also organizes company-wide opportunities to participate throughout the year. In 2019, our employees volunteered 650+ hours in their communities!

 

People and Culture

Capstone employees bring their creativity and passion every day and are the foundation of our success. Building strong communities starts with valuing our employees and creating an inclusive workplace environment to celebrate and inspire their diverse perspectives and talents. We unite around our single purpose: to help kids succeed by making learning fun.

We do this with the commitment of living our core values every day:

Capstone Value Icon for Curiosity

We Let Curiosity Lead the Way

We never stop listening, learning, and questioning.

We look at the world with a playful spirit and are energized by the world around us.

Capstone Value icon for "We "Own It""

We “Own It”

We are a responsibility culture, not a blame culture.

We are present.

We are decisive.

Capstone Value icon for "Welcoming and Inclusive Team"

We Are a Welcoming and Inclusive Team

The best of our work has been the result of our teamwork.

We succeed when we collaborate.

We enjoy our work.

Capstone Value icon for "We Turn Problems Into Opportunities"

We Turn Problems Into Opportunities

We are our own customer.

We treat customers how they want to be treated.

We don’t present problems, we deliver solutions.

Capstone Value icon for "Our Hearts and Minds Are Committed To Our Mission"

Our Hearts and Minds Are Committed To Our Mission

We believe in kids, their dreams, and their success. Reading and literacy increases opportunities for all children.

Our passion for our mission fuels our creativity.

Reading Is For Everyone

Our purpose focuses our energy on our rallying cry — Reading Is For Everyone. Reading should be celebrated. Reading should be for all. Children should see themselves reflected in the stories they read and feel connected, empowered, and curious about the world. We champion the next generation and new voices, diverse characters, and inclusive stories in our books so that all children can proudly see themselves as readers. 
 

Health and Well-Being

The health and well-being of our employees is important to us. Our Better U program is a resource for health and wellness through educational opportunities, wellness activities, and self-betterment. Capstone strives to establish a worksite culture that not only promotes health, but also improvement in physical, mental, and emotional well-being among all employees. We offer a variety of health and wellness activities on- and off-site, including yoga classes over the lunch hour, chair massages, and blood drives with the American Red Cross.
 

Environment and Sustainability

Capstone is committed to practices that promote responsible stewardship of the environment. In 2019, 32% of our printed books used paper that was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. This is just one way we use our resources in a sustainable and responsible way. 

The largest printer of Capstone books is located less than 2 miles from the Capstone distribution center. This significantly decreases the fossil fuels used in shipments. Our distribution center uses recyclable paper for packing our boxes, instead of plastic packaging or Styrofoam packing peanuts.  

Capstone is not only choosing sustainable methods with products, but it also makes sustainable choices in our workplace. Our offices have kitchens with reusable plates, cups, and cutlery, and we have multiple water stations throughout to cut down on bottled water. Capstone cares about the environment so we return our printer cartridges to be reused and we recycle paper, bottles, plastics, and cans. Bike riding and public transportation are common modes of transportation for many of our employees.