Pizza Hut® Announces Global Commitment to Literacy and Reading through Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project

Actor Rico Rodriguez Helping Inspire 100 Million People to Become Their Best through Literacy and Reading

Pizza Hut today announced a global commitment to literacy and reading that engages customers and team members around the world through a coordinated fundraising and community engagement campaign to enable access to resources, empower teachers and inspire reading on a global scale.

Called Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project, the campaign will transform the lives of 100 million people over the course of 10 years by helping them become their best through literacy and reading.

The project kicks off on “International Literacy Day,” established 50 years ago to actively mobilize the international community to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, local communities and societies.

“Nearly one billion people in the world cannot read this sentence,” said Artie Starrs, President, Pizza Hut, U.S. “Literacy and reading are bridges to opportunity, and at Pizza Hut, we believe that providing access to literacy and reading resources will help people thrive, creating more prosperous economies and communities.”

To help launch The Literacy Project, Pizza Hut launched a video designed to help people internalize what it would be like to experience “Life without Words.”  The video is designed to inspire an understanding of how literacy and reading play a significant role throughout our lives.

Pizza Hut has a long history of supporting literacy. The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which was established by the pizza restaurant in 1984, has been inspiring young people to read for more than 30 years. Roughly 1 in 5 Americans have participated in BOOK IT!, including more than 14 million students this year in 620,000 classrooms in the U.S. The BOOK IT! Program is the longest-running, corporate-supported literacy program in the country, and The Literacy Program is building on that foundation.

More information about The Literacy Project can be found at

Partnering with First Book

First Book, a recognized nonprofit, social sector leader in supporting equal access to education by providing new books and education resources to schools and programs that serve children in need, will support Pizza Hut in fulfilling its goal.

Through The Literacy Project, funds raised will provide educators with credits to the First Book Marketplace for selected schools and programs located near Pizza Hut restaurants. These credits will provide the needed purchasing power that allows educators to select from thousands of specially curated book titles and other educational resources available for free or at deeply reduced rates.

In addition, First Book features Open eBooks, a digital library loaded with thousands of free eBooks available to anyone within its network.

“The teachers we serve tell us that when a child discovers a love of reading, not only do they unlock their potential, but ultimately the community benefits,” said Kyle Zimmer, co-founder, president and CEO, First Book. “But too many low-income communities simply don’t have the resources to provide children with access to books, and teachers in these classrooms and programs often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money to try to provide what students need. Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project will unlock the potential of millions of underserved children and communities.”

International Literacy Day Announcement Featuring TV Star Rico Rodriguez

To kick off the program, Pizza Hut, First Book and TV star Rico Rodriguez are putting books in the hands of 100 second and third graders at PS 30, a public elementary school in East Harlem, New York City. Students will receive a free book to further the effort of enabling access, a key component of improving literacy around the world.

“Reading books can open your world to places you would never otherwise experience,” said Rodriguez. “Through The Literacy Project, we’re going to be able to inspire reading and literacy all around the world.”


Pizza Hut restaurants will be fundraising year-round in support of The Literacy Project. Beginning on September 8, Pizza Hut customers have a chance to support literacy in restaurants or online at, with donations that will be designated to build literacy in their communities. Any donation can have a major impact.

  • $1 helps take an important step toward literacy
  • $3 gives a brand new book
  • $5 provides new school supplies
  • $10 purchases a backpack of books

Local Activation

Pizza Hut team members and franchise partners will power The Literacy Project, with each restaurant being called upon to organize community engagement efforts to address literacy and inspire donations in their communities.

On September 8, Pizza Hut employees are encouraged to give back to the communities in which they serve by finding volunteer opportunities with organizations such as churches, schools or libraries to build book cases, develop pop-up reading nooks and read to members in the community.

“We are incredibly passionate about the communities where we have restaurants and our team members couldn’t be more excited about giving back locally,” said Bill Walsh, CEO of Daland Corporation, a Pizza Hut franchisee. “BOOK IT! has created the perfect platform to inspire readers in our communities. By expanding that commitment through The Literacy Project, we believe our community impact will be even greater, which is very important to us and our team members.”

Countries currently participating in The Literacy Project include the United States, Brazil, South Africa and Costa Rica. Additional countries and locations will be added throughout the campaign.