Project Summary

Literacy is a human right. Help us ensure that adults and young adults have books that are relevant, engaging, and accessible on their path to READING. Join us in our mission: full literacy for all.

Project Description


  • More than 36 million adults in the U.S. cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third grade level.  

  • 43% of adults with low literacy levels live in poverty.

  • 2 million immigrants come to the U.S each year and roughly half lack English language skills.  

The problem for our society is immense, and resources are scarce. Non-readers can feel isolated and left out of society. Worse, the biggest issue facing illiterate adults and young adults is shame. When they can find a literacy program or an ESL program at all, many learners are forced to study the only resource avaible to them: children's books.


Kids' books perpetuate low self-esteem and the content has no relevance to adult situations: a prime motivator for effective learning.



Just a 1% increase in literacy rates can yield a 1.5% increase in GDP - that's a $2.3 billion increase!  Improved literacy helps increase

  • self-esteem
  • job opportunities
  • income levels
  • better overall health
  • fuller participation in community life.    



Gemma Open Door for Literacy, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization [EIN #81-1384020], provides hard-to-find reading resources for adults and young adults who are acquiring English language literacy skills.


Gemma Open Door brings to new readers THE BEST writing we can find to encourage the joy of reading.


Gemma Open Door has more than 60 titles in print, and to date, we have distributed more than 50,000 copies. As most programs for adults are in our libraries and staffed by volunteers, there is very little money for materials. We strive to keep these books accessible, that is low cost or free to new readers. 


Gemma Open Door books and eBooks are high-interest, low-reading level original stories built on grown-up themes, created by best-selling authors and important new writers, from Roddy Doyle and Maeve Binchy to Kyoko Mori, Joe Schuster, May-lee Chai and many more!


We are creating 5 new book/audiobook packages and hope to get them in the hands of new readers across the country. Each book and audio costs $5,000 dollars to produce and distribute, so we are seeking $25,000 to meet our goal. Anything above that will allow us to create more!



Trish O'Hare is Executive Director and Publisher. Trish has more than 30 years senior experience across trade, academic and professional publishing, and has spent a decade running GemmaMedia which first published Open Doors in America. As a volunteer literacy teacher at Rosie's Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, her classroom experience with low-literacy and ESOL students informs and guides the program.


Brian Bouldrey is Series Editor. Brian is Senior Lecturer at Northwestern University where he teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and literature. He has written three nonfiction books and three novels, and he is the editor of several anthologies. He is recipient of Fellowships from Yaddo and Eastern Frontier Society as well as the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Western Regional Magazine Award.


Our talented and committed board:

Pam Boiros is Principal at Bridge Marketing Advisors. She is an experienced marketing leader with a demonstrated history of success in education technology (#EdTech) and HR software (#HRTech) markets.


A proven leader in content development and curation, Paul Foster has more than 20 years of executive experience in strategic & financial planning, alliances & acquisitions, and new product & business development.


Michael L. Hamlin, CPA, has more than 15 years’ experience serving non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals with financial reporting, tax preparation and planning. He is known for his business advisory skills, integrity and diligence in execution.


Our most important contributors are authors! Remembering the book that first made them fall in love with reading, these seasoned, gifted writers try to replicate that experience for new readers. With dedication and creativity and the knack for telling sophisticated stories at simple reading levels, these pros inspire and motivate.


Your gift of any amount, from $50 to $1,000 or more, will help ensure that those on the path to literacy have relevant, engaging, interesting texts to read. Give adults and young adults more than kid's books! Your donation will help us in the mission towards full literacy for all.


Our partners are the amazing organizations that help us in our mission: from the incredible inspiration that ProLiteracy provides us, to the distribution help from Ingram Publisher Services, to the fantastic printers, designers and producers. We couldn't do it without you! Here are some of our heroes: