megan-richards-1by Megan Richards
Business Development Manager

Did you know that 2 out of 3 third graders living in low-income families in Utah are not proficient in reading? Did you also know that 35 percent of children who are poor, living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, and not reading on grade level by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school?

Utah’s startup community has decided these statistics are unacceptable in our local community.

Beehive Startups, Silicon Slopes, and Utah’s United Ways partnered to launch Startup Santa at an event earlier this month. Startup Santa is a state-wide children’s book drive where companies compete against each other to see who can donate the most books and funds to support literacy programs to those living in low-income families.


“If you can do something, you should do something,” Carine Clark, President and CEO of MaritzCX, shared at the launch event. “You can’t code if you can’t read,” emphasized Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight, speaking on the importance of literacy in the tech field.

Although this effort is being championed by the startup and tech industries, any organization can (and should!) get involved. Sign up at The drive goes from now until December 4. You can also sign up for volunteer reading events happening December 5-15.

This holiday season change a child’s life with the gift of literacy.  

Start Up Santa

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

  1. Statewide 3rd Grade Language Arts (i.e. Reading, etc.) Proficiency; 2016 SAGE Results, Utah State Office of Education.

2. Annie E. Casey Foundation (2012). Double Jeopardy.