On September 20, 2013, United Way of Southern Kentucky announced that its Dolly Parton Imagination Library program was awarded a $2,000 grant from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT). In recognition of the efforts of United Way of Southern Kentucky in supporting early childhood education, the grant will aid in the continuing efforts of the program which is designed to send books monthly to children at their home until the age of 5.
United Way's Early Childhood Education community impact goal is to ensure that all children will enter kindergarten ready to succeed. To get books into the hands of children, United Way of Southern Kentucky began administering the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in late 2011. The Imagination Library not only increases children's access to books but also promotes parent-child interaction and helps ensure that children enter kindergarten with a strong ability to read with an eagerness to learn.
Recognizing that good reading skills are key to a child's success in school, Target awards Early Childhood Reading Grants to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations that support K-3 reading programs that help inspire kids to love reading and encourage families to read together.
Steve Wallace, President and CEO of United Way of Southern Kentucky, says, "National statistics tell us that children who are not reading at a minimum 3rd grade level by the time they enter 3rd grade are 75% more likely not to graduate from high school on time. However, national statistics also tell us that if children are read to at least 3 times per week by a family member they are twice as likely to score in the top 25 percent in their school's reading assessment testing. Simply put, if you want children to have the maximum opportunities in school and beyond, enroll them in United Way's Imagination Library program at birth and start reading to them on Day 1!"
The grant is part of Target's ongoing efforts to build strong, safe and healthy communities across the country. These efforts include Target's long history of giving 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million every week. As part of this commitment, Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 to help kids learn, schools teach and parents and caring adults engage.
"At Target, we are committed to serving local communities where we do business," said Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations, Target. "That's why we are proud to partner with United Way of Southern Kentucky as we work to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of our guests and team members."
In addition to the grant received by United Way of Southern Kentucky, Target also gives through signature programs such as:
• Take Charge of Education, a school fundraising initiative that provides undesignated funds to local schools for whatever they need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology.
• Arts Accessibility, free or reduced-price admission to arts and cultural events nationwide.
• Target School Library Makeovers, a program that leverages Target's world-class design expertise to transform school libraries across the country with new construction, furniture, and technology, as well as 2,000 new books.
• Education Grants and Awards, including Books for Schools Awards, Target Field Trip Grants and Early Childhood Reading Grants, that provide schools, libraries, teachers and nonprofit organizations the resources they need to bring learning to life and put more kids on the path to graduation.