The organization’s name comes from the belief that a book, like a bridge, can take a child to new places — today in his or her imagination and tomorrow through literacy skills. After leaving the practice of law in 1999, Tricia McCarthy started the original Bridge of Books Foundation in June 2000. She wanted to provide books to San Francisco’s at-risk youth knowing that many children did not have books in their homes due to their parents’ difficult financial situations and that many children’s programs had few or no books due to a lack of funds.
Meanwhile in New Jersey in late 2002, Abigail Daly had also left the practice of law to raise her children. She had spent the last six years representing individuals who were involuntarily committed to mental health facilities and then the Division of Youth and Family Services in abuse and neglect actions. Abby knew that she wanted to remain involved in the community and to continue working with organizations serving children. Abby was introduced to Tricia and Bridge of Books through Ellen McNamara, another New Jersey resident and Tricia’s aunt. Several months later, a chapter of the Bridge of Books was born in New Jersey in early 2003.
The San Francisco organization ceased operations in late 2004, leaving New Jersey to assume the mantle and carry on the mission. Abby incorporated Bridge of Books and received 501(c) (3) status as a non-profit organization in 2005.
Operating strictly as an all-volunteer organization, Bridge of Books has facilitated the distribution of nearly a half million books both directly to children and to the agencies that serve them. We support the development of literacy skills by increasing the number of age-appropriate books available to New Jersey’s low-income children.