Visa U.S.A. has kicked off its second annual campaign to promote its top charitable cause, children's literacy.

The card association will donate a percentage of each card sale through Dec. 31 to Reading Is Fundamental, which provides books to children. Visa has pledged to give a least $1 million.

Visa has also teamed up with its member banks for a charity campaign called Read Me a Story. Participating banks are helping Visa distribute literature to parents about how to encourage their children to read books.

Each of the major card brands has embraced cause-related marketing. This year American Express Co. made a four-year commitment of $1.6 million to the American Red Cross. Visa also committed $1 million to the Red Cross for its relief efforts during last summer's Midwest flood.

MasterCard International focuses its philanthropy on organizations like Unicef that benefit needy children.

Visa is supporting Read Me a Story with a $20 million advertising campaign.

Like many charitable efforts, Visa's literacy campaign features a celebrity spokesman making personal appearances on its behalf. He is Anthony Edwards, who appears on the prime-time television series "ER."

Visa has also published a "reading checkup guide" to help parents understand the early stages of reading development. More than seven million guides will be distributed, mostly through bank branches and doctors' offices.

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