The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has named celebrated authors Ann Patchett and James Patterson as the organization’s inaugural ambassadors.
Binc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit established in 1996, helps bookstore owners and employees with personal financial assistance during unexpected financial crises. Both Patchett and Patterson are personal champions of independent bookstores. As the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, Patchett knows firsthand what it’s like to be an independent bookseller in good times and bad.
“I support Binc because it’s an organization that’s always there for booksellers,” said Patchett. “Together we can help Binc weave a safety net for all booksellers. It’s a way to say thank you to the people who have given us so much.”
Patterson, who donated $2 million in holiday bonuses and grants to independent bookstore employees and school libraries in 2015, said his commitment to independent bookstores stems from their important role in cultivating “a nation of readers” in American society.
As ambassadors, Patchett and Patterson will help increase awareness of Binc’s mission. In 2015, Binc provided financial assistance to 28 bookstore employees and their families, giving almost $55,000 in personal financial grants. Binc’s higher education scholarship program provided 53 scholarships to bookstore employees and their dependents for a total of more than $220,000, and the organization’s professional development scholarship program gave 17 booksellers financial assistance to attend industry events.
“Ms. Patchett and Mr. Patterson understand the unique role that bookstores play in building community,” said Binc Executive Director Pamela French. “They also understand that many people who work there do so out of passion — and are often one emergency away from financial hardship. That’s why we feel so honored to have them as ambassadors.”