Read to Achieve Tips Off

ORLANDO, Fla., July 15 -- The WNBA and American Express will launch WNBA Read to Achieve presented by American Express, the league's new community relations platform focused on the importance of reading, today, July 15, at WNBA Summer Jam at 5 p.m. on the north side of the TD Waterhouse Centre.

The program will be officially launched on the American Express ShootAround Court and will feature the program's new spokesperson DeLisha Milton of the Los Angeles Sparks along with Carla McGhee (Orlando Miracle), Jackie Stiles (Portland Fire), and WNBA President Val Ackerman reading to a group of kids from the Montsho Foundation, an Orlando-based charitable foundation that runs a multi-faceted program aimed at family literacy.

The program elements include:

  • An American Express donation of $1 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF) for every purchase at an in-arena store using an American Express card with a minimum donation of $35,000 at the end of the season. This is valid for all WNBA home games for the remainder of the season.
  • Announcement of DeLisha Milton as program spokesperson
  • A 30-second vignette touting the importance of reading which will be featured during nationally broadcast WNBA games throughout the remainder of the season
  • An American Express donation of 1,000 books to the Montsho Foundation at WNBA All-Star
  • WNBA Read to Achieve presented by American Express In-Arena Nights featuring an in-arena book drive in all 16 WNBA cities
  • Reading events for children and their parents in two other WNBA cities
  • A WNBA Read to Achieve presented by American Express section on

    "WNBA Read to Achieve is an important initiative for our league, and we are very pleased that American Express will be our partner in this program," said WNBA President Val Ackerman. "The program is designed to emphasize to children the importance of reading books, showcase online literacy and communicate to parents the benefits of reading to their children."

    "Reading is a skill which we are eager to emphasize to kids and parents across America because it unlocks the doors of opportunity in life," said Gena Casciano, American Express Director of Sponsorship Marketing. "We are very happy to be involved in a program that will be a major focus of the WNBA for years to come."

    WNBA Read to Achieve presented by American Express is a league-wide initiative that promotes the value of reading and online literacy and encourages families and adults to read regularly with young children. The WNBA Read to Achieve program falls under the NBA family-wide Read to Achieve initiative supported by all 29 NBA teams, 8 NBDL teams, and the 16 WNBA teams. Read to Achieve will reach an estimated 50 million children a year and is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports. In addition to a $100 million a year promotional campaign, the effort includes the annual donation of more than 200,000 books through a variety of reading events and book fairs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs.

    The 2001 WNBA All-Star Game will be played in the TD Waterhouse Centre, home of the Orlando Miracle, on July 16. The game tips off at 8:00 PM and will be aired on ESPN. Tickets can be purchased through 1-877-WNBA-TIX. Summer Jam, the WNBA?s ultimate interactive basketball experience for fans of all ages, is located on the north side of the arena and is open from Noon-7:30 PM on Sunday, July 15 and Monday, July 16.

    The WNBA, the world?s pre-eminent women?s sports league, tipped-off its fifth season on May 28 (Memorial Day). According to a recent ESPN Sports Poll, fan interest in the WNBA now ranks fourth overall among professional sports leagues in the U.S. In addition to being the longest running women?s professional basketball league in the U.S., the WNBA was also the most successful league launch in sports history. The WNBA?s extensive national television schedule has expanded to reach audiences on ESPN, ESPN2, NBC and Lifetime. The WNBA?s combined local, national and international television coverage in 2001 will reach nearly 60 million viewers in 167 countries and 23 different languages. During the 2000 season, a record 2.5 million fans attended WNBA games. For more information on the WNBA, visit

    American Express is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking. For more information about American Express Cards and services, visit


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