A year into its launch, the United Way of Grant County’s initiative, the Imagination Library, spearheaded in partnership with the Dollywood Foundation, has made a profound impact.
In 2023, the program has delivered an astonishing 6,776 books to over 1,631 children. The success of this program in Grant County has not only exceeded the projections of the Dollywood Foundation but also emerged as a beacon of hope in a region grappling with the challenges of limited educational resources and economic hardship. The initiative, fueled by a coalition of local and national supporters, including the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Woodmark Foundation, General Motors, Indiana United Ways, and American Electric Power, has begun to reshape the educational landscape of the area.
In a statement, Evan Gilmore, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for United Way of Grant County, emphasized the significance of the program. “The Imagination Library is more than just a free book distribution program; it represents a foundational step towards addressing literacy and, by extension, the long-term educational and economic prosperity of our community.”
The program’s efforts have been further bolstered by matching funding from the state of Indiana in the current state budget cycle, effectively doubling the resources available. This influx of support has been instrumental in ensuring the program’s sustainability and reach in the coming years.
Looking forward, United Way of Grant County is not resting on its laurels. In 2024, the organization will be extending its literacy efforts through additional community partnerships and the newly formed United Way Literacy Taskforce. This group, comprising educators, elected officials, community members, and stakeholders, will focus on strategic initiatives to enhance literacy and instill a lifelong love of reading.
This endeavor marks a critical step in tackling a generational challenge in Grant County. By equipping its youngest residents with access to books and the power of reading, the United Way of Grant County is planting the seeds for a future where literacy is not just a skill but a shared value that uplifts the entire community.
As the program moves into its second year, their message is one of optimism and commitment. With continued support and participation from the community, United Way of Grant County’s literacy initiatives are set to leave an indelible mark on the lives of Grant County’s children and, by extension, its future.
For more information about the Imagination Library or to learn how you can support these literacy initiatives, please visit uwgrant.com/books.