2013 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Heart of America Foundation

Heart of America Foundation

Angie Halamandaris, President and Co-Founder

The Heart of America Foundation (HOA) is a national nonprofit organization committed to education and volunteer service, working to put books into the hands of the children who need them most. Since 1997, Heart of America has provided underserved children with 2.9 million books and revitalized more than 176 school libraries. In keeping with its guiding principles of respect, integrity and compassion, HOA engages corporate and community volunteers to help students everywhere who suffer from a lack of resources. According to the Education Partner Nominator, "The Heart of America vision has impacted thousands of students."

That impact was profoundly felt right here in Nassau County, when HOA partnered with Capital One to bring the READesign Library Makeover project to Westbury's Drexel Avenue Elementary School. Volunteers worked for a week to build new literacy centers for the school, both inside and outside. The Book Nook is an inviting indoor learning space where students and teachers can immerse themselves in literacy activities. To kick the reading into motion, the foundation stocked the new Nook with more than 800 books and distributed five books to each of the 550 students. Literacy Lodge brings the Drexel Avenue library outdoors in the form of a reading gazebo nestled along the school's walking trail.

With such an important and altruistic mission at its core, it is no wonder HOA has earned a number of awards. In 2008, the Target Corporation bestowed the foundation with its Best of the Bullseye Award for Innovation. It earned the 2009 Youth Partnership Award from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and was named "One of the Best" by the 2009-10 Catalogue for Philanthropy. In 2007, Heart of America President Angie Halamandaris was honored with the Woman of Vision Award by the Junior League of Northern Virginia.

According to Halamandaris, "Heart of America uniquely combines volunteerism and reading to provide children in need with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference."