Mrs. Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. A tireless advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush has helped countless charities and humanitarian causes throughout her years in public life, though her primary focus has been promoting family literacy. Recognized fondly as the “First Lady of Literacy,” she began championing the literacy cause while in the White House. In fact, Mrs. Bush played an integral role in advocating for the passage of the National Literacy Act of 1991. She has continued to advocate for universal literacy for the past 25 years.
Mrs. Bush is passionate in her belief that everyone has the right to read. She believes that “Most of our nation’s problems would be solved if every man, woman and child could read, write and comprehend.” With this in mind, she set out to raise awareness across America about the value of reading and learning, a requisite for having an equal chance to succeed in life. Dedicated to breaking the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy in America, Mrs. Bush has supported programs that enable parents and their young children to learn together. In 1989 she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which has awarded more than $50 million to create or expand family literacy programs across the country.
Mrs. Bush has authored two children's books, C. Fred's Story and the best-selling Millie's Book, both of which benefited literacy through proceeds from sales. She also wrote the best-selling Barbara Bush: A Memoir and Reflections: Life After the White House. In addition to award-winning books, Mrs. Bush has been widely recognized for her legacy of service and unwavering support for the literacy cause, as well as her impact on countless lives touched through her efforts.
In 2013 Neil and Maria Bush formed the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to carry forth their mother’s legacy and focus deeply on the literacy cause in the Bush family’s hometown and the nation’s 4th largest, most diverse city. Founded on Mrs. Bush’s belief, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless,” the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Houstonians through the power of literacy and the breaking of the intergenerational cycle of low literacy.