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Heart of America, Capital One Partner for Literacy Celebration; Three-year partnership collects half a million books for children.

MCLEAN, Va. -- Thirty-seven percent of American fourth-graders read at or below basic levels and are functionally illiterate, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Heart of America Foundation - through its Books From The Heart program - and Capital One Financial Corporation are doing their part to bridge this gap by joining together for their Literacy Celebration, which will take place from March 1st through March 16th in several communities throughout the country.

The Heart of America Foundation and Capital One's three-year partnership is expected to reach the "half-million books collected" milestone this year with an expected 200,000 children benefiting from the program.

"The statistics are frightening," says Bill Halamandaris, president of The Heart of America Foundation and author of the book, The Heart of America: Ten Core Values That Make Our Country Great. "Children in economically depressed communities have one or two age-appropriate books in their homes. Compare that to middle-income communities, where children have more than 50 age-appropriate books on average, or to high-income communities, where that number swells to almost 200. Our partnership with Capital One enables us to attack the heart of the issue by providing access to reading material for all children."

"Literacy allows for learning and empowers children to live up to their full potential," said Capital One spokesperson Laura White. "We are proud to partner with Heart of America in nurturing tomorrow's most valuable resource - our children."

Capital One will conduct book drives and special events centered on raising awareness of today's literacy problem in the following markets: Northern Virginia; Richmond, Va.; Boise, Idaho; Southborough, Mass.; Dallas/Fort Worth; San Diego; and Tampa, Fla.

The drives and special events will be held in conjunction with the National Education Association's eighth-annual Read Across America Day, which will take place on March 2 - Dr. Seuss' 101st birthday. In all, Capital One employees across the country and Heart of America expect to collect more than 200,000 books this year.

About Heart of America

Books From The Heart(TM) is a national program of The Heart of America Foundation(R), a nonprofit humanitarian network located in Washington, D.C. The Heart of America's mission is to teach the values at the heart of America, and help people learn, particularly youth, that we help ourselves when we help others. The Books From The Heart(TM) program goal is to make sure children across the country have books readily accessible in their schools and homes and to provide a tool to teach school children about service to their communities.

About Capital One

Capital One is a proud sponsor of the Heart of America's Books From The Heart program. This is the fifth year the financial services company has been involved with Literacy Celebration and the third year it has joined with Heart of America. Over the past four years, Capital One has been responsible for placing nearly 350,000 books in the hands of almost 150,000 children. In addition, Capital One employees have spent more than 8,000 hours reading and distributing books to children.

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., which offers auto loan products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 47.0 million managed accounts and $71.2 billion in managed loans outstanding as of December 31, 2003. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 28, 2005
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