United Way of North Central Iowa receives gift of $25k for Dolly Parton Imagination Library

(ABC 6 News) – The United Way of North Central Iowa has received a transformational gift of $25,000 in support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

The gift was made by a North Iowa family in loving memory of their son, Greg, who discovered the magic of words and reading in early childhood. His family hopes to ensure his legacy continues by passing this love of reading on to the children of North Iowa.

“We are honored to be a part of this incredible legacy,” said UWNCI CEO, Jen Arends. “Thanks to this family’s generosity, we are going to be able to provide children in north Iowa with the tools to build their early literacy skills but also instill a life-long love of reading. We are extremely grateful for this level of support.”

In north Iowa, 25% of children are not reading at proficiency by 4th grade, according to the Iowa Department of Education. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides an age-appropriate book every month from birth until the child’s fifth birthday.

The program results in higher literacy skills prior to entering kindergarten, increased child-caregiver interaction around reading, and increased positive feelings around reading. If you are looking to register your child, you can visit HERE to register. 

Watchdog group Charity Navigator ranks UWNCI as a 4-Star nonprofit for fiscal responsibility and accountability.

While the gift will make a substantial impact on United Way’s efforts, there will always remain need for additional funding for Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  For just $30.00, you can sponsor a child for one year in the program.

“Imagine the transformational impact subsequent gifts can have on the lives of north central Iowa children,” said Arends.