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Friday, April 16, 2010

Need Books? Ask The Molina Foundation

The Molina Foundation's mission is to reduce disparities in access to education and healthcare by underserved populations.  Providing replicable and sustainable models that enhance access to education and reinforcement of activities shown to improve student achievement is one of the overarching goals of The Molina Foundation.

The Molina Foundation has 4 programs that support its goals:

1. Book Buddies
2. Step Up to Math
3. Experience Counts
4. Everybody Writes

Dr. Martha Bernadett is the eldest daughter of the late Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare, Inc. Both Dr. David Molina and his wife Mary were elementary school teachers prior to Dr. David Molina’s return to medical school. Thus, Dr. Bernadett, or “Dr. Martha” as she is known, and her siblings were raised with a deep value for education.

As a Family Physician, Dr. Martha understood the importance of literacy and education in overcoming health disparities. In addition, as the Principal Investigator of a demonstration project funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Hablamos Juntos (We Speak Together) Program, she understood the barriers to health access faced by those with limited English proficiency.



In 2003, Dr. Martha started a program to provide books to children without access to books in an effort to improve literacy of children to help them overcome barriers to healthcare access and impact their long-term overall health status. This program was called Book Buddies. Through support and partnership of similar 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Book Buddies grew and grew, establishing itself as a cornerstone of literacy efforts throughout California.


To address these important issues in an ongoing and sustainable manner, Dr. Martha Bernadett formed The Molina Foundation in August, 2004.



I. Book Buddies

Book Buddies™ Literacy Program: This program has distributed about 1,000,000 new or gently used books since 2003 and was the one of the reasons driving the formation of The Molina Foundation. Through this program, we have identified and distributed hundreds of thousands of books through schools, libraries, community based organizations, hospitals and health care facilities. These books are distributed where cohorts of children and adults have been identified at high risk for low literacy, primarily due to poverty or prevalence of English as a second language. Books are received through donations from book publishers and distributors, book drives at schools and community organizations, and low-cost book purchase. The Book Buddies program has received and distributed books for First Book, the National Book Bank and numerous publishers and distributors of new and used books.

Book Buddies has partnered with literacy programs and existing 501(c)3 organizations to support their projects. Book Buddies has built over 50 libraries at community based organizations and schools.

Click here to visit our Book Buddies site.

II.  Step Up to Math

The Step-Up-to-Math program targets 6th graders who are at the Basic level on the California Standards Tests (CST) in math and may include English Language Learners. The program has three objectives:

  • To motivate and encourage students to increase math skills
  • To attain proficiency in math for the rigors of 6th grade pre-algebra
  • To encourage parents to give positive messages while tracking their student’s school work.

Step-Up-to-Math is a model that can be applied wherever qualified and interested high school students and middle school students are already gathered in a supervised setting. The model, once proven, can be applied in Community Based Organizations offering programs for these age groups.

III. Experience Counts

Experience Counts is part of the Molina Foundation. The goal of Experience Counts is to support current school educators and administrators by sharing the expertise of experienced retired administrators and educators.

Experience Counts helps through: 

  • Support advice online.
  • Support by phone.
  • In person mentoring.
  • Free seminars.
Click here to visit our Experience Counts site.

IV. Everybody Writes

Everybody Writes a program of The Molina Foundation that produces writing conferences to encourage children to write.


Everybody Writes is a program designed to inspire children to write outside the classroom by offering exciting and engaging activities through which the children do not realize they are learning while writing.

The conferences and program is conducted by authors, literacy specialists and engaging teachers.







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