At Hall Prangle and Schoonveld, LLC (HPS), Paying it Forward is a concept that has turned into action. Looking to work with like-minded philanthropic groups, foster a healthy work environment, and impact the broader community, HPS has raised money for clean drinking water in Africa, packed meals for hungry families, and provided gifts for children during the holiday seasons.

This May, HPS took part in the first year of the Chicago Sun-Time Charity Trust’s Chicago Reads/Book Buddies Program. Designed to help Chicago Public School students read books that interest them over the summer, the program matches students with individuals, who then buy them books.

HPS employees from four different offices throughout the country sent almost 100 books to 2nd and 3rd grade students from Columbia Explorers Academy on Chicago’s southwest side.

April Walkup, a partner at HPS who oversees the Paying it Forward Committee, said that Jamie Herzberger, a legal assistant, brought the Book Buddies idea to the Committee.

“She spearheads our Letters to Santa gift drive (through the Sun-Times) each holiday season and discovered this opportunity to continue giving to children in need. The Book Buddies Program gives our offices the opportunity to purchase books on a child’s wish list.”

HPS and other people seized that opportunity.

Nykia Wright, a trustee at the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust and the Interim Chief Executive Officer at the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote in an email to participants of the Book Buddies program that they had collectively supplied books for 2,343 students.

“We received letters from thousands of students at our partner schools and programs around the city. Because of your participation, we were able to give a book to every single child who wrote us a note this year. This program is only possible because of you.

“As one of our partner companies, you and your team read letters, picked out the perfect book, and ensured that they were delivered on time. You gave children the gift of reading this summer—a gift that will pay dividends for a lifetime.”