Week of fundraising for childhood literacy initiative to begin

The Hancock County Community Foundation will spearhead Imagination Library week Monday through Friday.

The week’s efforts will encompass fundraisers in all county school corporations and dine-to-donate efforts to benefit the Imagination Library endowment.

Imagination Library, an early childhood literacy program launched by the Dollywood Foundation in 1995, is made possible locally through a partnership between the community foundation and the Hancock County Public Library.

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The program provides an age-appropriate book to residents of Hancock County children born on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Free books are delivered monthly to the home in the name of the enrolled child. To date, 186 babies have been enrolled in the program, according to a press release.

“On average, 40 percent of Hancock County children fell below kindergarten literacy assessments given in the fall of 2015,” said Mary Gibble, foundation president.

“Supporting educational attainment in Hancock County across the ages is one of HCCF’s strategic focus points.”

The community foundation is working with the community to build a $2 million endowment over five years to cover book expenses and sustain the Imagination Library program, according to a press release. A $2 million endowment will generate enough funding for 3,500 children to receive 12 books per year before the child’s fifth birthday — that’s 60 books per child. Almost $600,000 has been raised since November 2015.

Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and Southern Hancock schools will participate in Imagination Library week, as well as St. Michael Catholic School and Zion Lutheran School. The following local restaurants will host dine-to-donate fundraisers benefiting Imagination Library:

4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Applebee’s, 1792 N. State St., Greenfield;

5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, The Grill 2, 6621 W. Broadway, #100, McCordsville;

4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jim Dandy, 80 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield, and;

All day Sept. 29, Dairy Queen, 801 W. Main St., Greenfield.

Enrollment information can be found at givehcgrowhc.org or hcplibrary.org.