For the love of books

The four millionth book

In celebration of our 10thanniversary, we also donated the four millionth book! To celebrate the milestone, the Houston KPMG team hosted a mobile book fair for teachers and students at Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros, in collaboration with the Astros Foundation. “Minute Maid has a lot of local pride – it’s our team’s homefield and they had just won the Championship. Ironically, though many of the children who live within miles have never had the chance to visit it, not to mention that everyone was still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Harvey,” explains Tandra Jackson, Office Managing Partner of the Houston office.

The KPMG team jumped in to make the event exciting and memorable for the children and educators. On offer: goody bags for hundreds of students and educators, photo sessions with the World Series trophy, book readings, and numerous activities to keep the students busy as the teachers shopped for classroom supplies. The day-long event was organized entirely by more than 80 KPMG volunteers. 

And it was all worth it.

As a Managing Partner, Tandra is clear of the impact she – and her team – can have with this work. “We have to look beyond ourselves and our success. Our team is very involved in lifelong learning activities…it helps broaden our horizons and connects our passion for giving back to our communities,” she emphasizes. Giving out the four millionth book to Jasmine Dixon, a fifth grader from Gregory Lincoln Elementary School, was a particularly special moment for Tandra and her team.

“Jasmine lost her entire home during Hurricane Harvey. So, receiving a new book that she could read and read again – and never have to give back – was a powerful symbol for hope. And connecting with our team members gives kids like Jasmine hope and aspiration. They can envision a better future for themselves by meeting successful people from their communities,” she says. 

Restoring a hurricane-torn school library

The Houston team didn’t stop there though. Hurricane Harvey ravaged their communities in 2017 – and in 2018, there was still a lot of rebuilding to do. So, they partnered with LPGA star and KPMG brand ambassador Stacy Lewis, a Houston native, to refurnish a local school library, in time for the new school year. 

“Hilliard Elementary had to contend with almost three feet of water. All their books were destroyed. So we worked with Stacy Lewis to help with rebuilding the library because it plays such a critical role in helping the kids explore and imagine. We wanted to make sure they returned to a place ready for them to thrive in again,” explains Tandra, adding, “Stacy donated all the furniture and over 70 people from our team worked with First Book and the school to order over 10,000 new books and then spent two days setting up the library, book by book and chair by chair.”

“To whom much is given, much is required.”

It is not lost on Tandra that this opportunity can be significant for the kids who otherwise would not have any exposure to a career in accounting or consulting. “To even be able to get them to a point where they can see this as a possibility for themselves despite their circumstances is a win,” she says.

The library, just like the Minute Maid event, was a project of love for the team. “Twenty years out, I hope to wake up to emails from a few of the kids we are helping today saying that they’ve just joined KPMG and remember us being in their schools and that we inspired them to imagine a better life for themselves,” she says. 

A vision that she holds close to her heart.