Unnamed donor gives $70,000 to kid’s reading program

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The United Way of Central Illinois announced it’s getting an
anonymous gift of $70,000 for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

Named after a famous country music singer-songwriter, the program helps children get ready for kindergarten by sending them one book a month in the mail for free until they turn 5-years-old.

In a press release, United Way says over 700 children were removed from the waitlist in Sangamon County thanks to the donation, and are getting their first book in February.

The United Way says the library program creates more family time for children, fosters positive attitudes about reading, promotes early literacy skills, and expands vocabulary.

“We’re excited to help all the children of our community have the opportunity to begin reading and
learning before they start formal schooling,” says the anonymous donor.

“This gift, especially now, is much needed to be able to continue offering this program in Sangamon
County,” says John Kelker, United Way of Central Illinois’s President. “Dolly Parton’s Imagination
Library guarantees access to books and inspires parents to read to their children. This simple task
has a big impact on a child.”

United Way says it’s getting several thank you letters and photos of the children, who are excited they’re receiving their first book.

Since launching, over 160,943 books have been sent out to kids in Sangamon County, serving more than 6,835 children.

The cost of the program per child is about $26 per year or $130 per child for all five years if they are
registered at birth.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library — Sangamon County

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