For Martin M. Cooper, Chair Emeritus and long-time member of the Boys and Girls Club of West San Fernando Valley (BGCWV) Board of Directors, increasing youth literacy will always be a priority. In 2007, he demonstrated his commitment to this belief by founding the Cooper Reading Challenge at the BGCWV.

For the challenge, interested children are asked to read an age-appropriate book. Every child who participates gets to visit Barnes & Noble in December and purchase $25 in books that interest them. After the trip, they are asked to share their thoughts through an extracurricular book report or participate in dialogue groups for their chosen book.

This trip is often the first opportunity for younger members to visit a bookstore. For older members, it facilitates their continued interest in reading by enabling them to purchase books in genres they may not otherwise have access to.

In 2021, following the success of the reading challenge, Martin Cooper and his wife Barbara initiated the Cooper Family Endowed Fund for Literacy Programs with an initial gift of $25,000. They intend to fund this endowment above $100,000 through additional gifts.

Mr. Cooper shares the credo that “Literacy is a key foundation to a successful, fulfilling, and enjoyable life.” This generous gift and vision allow BGCWV to extend the reach of its programs and provide additional literacy resources and support to all its members. To learn more or support this year’s 17th Annual Reading Challenge, please visit:

We at the Community Foundation of the Valleys are pleased to honor Martin M. Cooper as one of our Profiles in Generosity because of how he exemplifies high-quality and authentic philanthropy.