BLACK VOICES
11/18/2015 05:11 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2015

This Man's Wish To Donate Millions Of Books To Africa Just Came True

More than 180 tons of books will be shipped to schools across Africa over the next three years.

In less than two decades, Bob Brown has donated more than 5 million books to Africa.

Through his International BookSmart Foundation, Brown, an 80-year-old civil rights activist, friend of Martin Luther King Jr., advisor to the Mandela family and former White House Cabinet member, hopes to contribute many, many more to the continent. 

That’s why his wish this holiday season is to keep giving back -- and it came true in a big way with the help of UPS’s Wish Delivered Campaign. Together, Brown and UPS will ship more than 180 tons of additional books to schools across Africa over the next three years.

Growing up, books were Brown’s best friend.

“It’s Up To You" by Ernest Holmes was among his favorites and inspired him throughout many of his journeys in life. He said his heart broke after traveling to South Africa and witnessed the lack of access thousands of children had to books because of a horrible ban upheld by apartheid. 

“I was appalled by that,” Brown said in a video produced by UPS. “Books and education mean everything, not just for the individual but for society.”

Shortly after, Brown launched the International BookSmart Foundation and while he had some success, he still struggled to provide books to many of those in need mainly due to a lack of resources.  

“My wish is that we would be able to get to millions of young people who don’t have a chance,” he said. “We’re giving them a chance at life.”  

So, UPS took note and wanted to pay it forward by making Brown’s wish for expansion come true.

Brown is the first recipient for this year’s Wishes Delivered campaign. After first launching the initiative during the 2014 holiday season, UPS has fulfilled more than 20,000 wishes across America. As part of the campaign, the company is also donating $1 for every wish submitted using the hashtag #WishesDelivered to one of five partner charities.  

Big congrats to them -- and especially to Mr. Brown!

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