1889 Foundation has awarded $25,000 to St. Francis University in support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The gift will make free books available to children in Cambria County from birth to age 5, regardless of income. (Photo above, left to right: Dr. Don Walkovich, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education;Ms. Linda Kline, Coordinator; Dr. Melissa Peppetti, Director of Graduate Education; Susan Mann, President, 1889 Foundation; Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D., President; and, of course, Dolly!)

The Dollywood Foundation selects and purchases high quality, age-appropriate books for eligible children and mails them every month to their homes. Saint Francis University coordinates the families’ registrations and pays a small monthly fee to cover the shipping.

“Childhood development is one of 1889 Foundation’s five priority funding initiatives, so we are happy to be able to partner with Saint Francis University and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library by investing in early childhood learning by getting books in the hands of our youngest residents in Cambria County,” said Susan Mann, president of 1889 Foundation.

“The 1889 Foundation is a champion for childhood development, and we are grateful to them for their support and recognition of this tremendous early childhood literacy program,” said Melissa Peppetti, director of graduate education programs at Saint Francis, who is leading the program. “In partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the university has placed 20,000 books into the hands of 2,100 children in Cambria County. We do so proudly through SFU’s Dorothy Day Outreach Center and theGraduate Education Department as part of our mission to support families and promote children’s literacy. Given that there are more than 6,000 eligible families with children from birth to age 5 in Cambria County, the 1889 Foundation’s critical financial support enables us to continue to reach as many children as possible.”

Families from Cambria County may sign up for the program on Dolly’s site at the button below.