Books are GEMS (El Paso, TX)


  • Name:Manuel Enriquez
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Books are GEMS
  • Address:7744 North Loop, Ste B
    El Paso, TX 79915
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:915-845-5437

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Books are GEMS supports literacy in El Paso by providing free books and teaching material to children and teachers and by providing free month-long summer reading camps for struggling readers.

  • Overview:
  • El Paso, Texas is a County struggling with illiteracy. Up to 39% of adults in El Paso County are illiterate, and 80% of the homes in the community speak a language other then English as the primary language in the home. These facts, together with 25% of El Pasoans living in poverty, creates an vacuum populated only by children struggling to read. When local children need help learning to read English, they often cannot seek assistance from their English as a Second Language (ESL) parents and they cannot afford to get tutoring or to purchase reading material outside of school provisions.

    Books are GEMS works to fill the gap. Every month each child visiting our store may take 5 free used books and 1 free new book, and teachers may take 25 free used books and unlimited teaching material twice a year. We also partner with 20+ local pediatricians in "RX to Read," providing free books to physicians who gift them to their well-child patients and encourage them to read.

    During the summer we provide free, month-long reading camps to 150 children who test as struggling readers, and we are pursuing year-round tutoring and adult literacy programs, as well.

    While we have a few part-time staff to keep storefront operations and community relationships established and growing, much of the work done at our location is volunteer. Working with the University of Texas, El Paso, El Paso Community College, and several local high schools, we train and work alongside youth and young adults as we sort and shelve books and work in the community.

  • History:
  • Grace Elizabeth Madriles was a beautiful, loving sixteen year old when she died in a car accident on September 21, 2002.

    The Madriles family was surrounded by love and prayers as well as gifts of flowers and food. Additionally, people started giving monetary donations. The family wanted to use the funds in a manner that would honor Gracie’s spirit of love and generosity. Gracie’s mother, Paula, was a teacher at a very poor South El Paso elementary school. She spent the donated money at yard sales and thrift stores, buying books and educational materials to give to teachers. Thus the idea for Books are Gems was born. Paula and friends formed a 501C3 non profit organization in January of 2003 and began fundraising.

    Our first distributions were in the South El Paso schools of Alamo, AOY and Roosevelt, all within walking distance of the Mexican border.

    Soon the books were rolling in. First the books filled up Gracie’s bedroom, then overflowed to the living and dining room, and later overfilling a friend’s garage. Soon after Mrs. Madriles and friends were forced to rent a storage unit, and then another.

    In June 2004, Books Are Gems moved into the lovely Plazita Santa Fe Shopping Center. Later in January 2010 they reached their current and more centralized location 7744 North Loop Ste B (rear of Compass bldg). Thousands of children’s books are still shelved and prepared to be distributed with the help of volunteers and Books Are GEMS still try reach all children throughout the El Paso area.

  • Year established:2004
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:8
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:4


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:56-2380561

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:562380561
  • Organization Name:BOOKS ARE GEMS
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Organization Address:7744 NORTH LOOP DR STE B
  • Organization City:EL PASO
  • Organization State:TX
  • Organization Zip:79915-2907
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:January, 2004
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:B94
  • Asset Amount:$62,255
  • Asset Code:3 ($25,000 - $99,999)
  • Income Amount:$105,647
  • Income Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$105,647
  • Last Updated:3/23/2018 4:06:04 am

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.