The O’Neill Community Foundation Fund has announced a multi-year grant of $3,000 a year for the next four years to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library project for the O’Neill area. The Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books every month to children from birth to age 5 in participating communities. Children that reside in the O’Neill School District are eligible to sign up. In the first year of the program, 205 were enrolled and 1,615 books were mailed out for those children.
“We are incredibly thankful for the financial support from the O’Neill Community Foundation Fund to help sustain this program for children in the O’Neill area,” said Ally Sedlacek, youth member of the local Imagination Library committee. “Research shows that the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. This grant will help ensure that children in the O’Neill area have access to their own books, helping with early childhood development.”
The O’Neill Community Foundation Fund initially helped kick off the Imagination Library in 2019 with a $2,500 grant and additional dollars were raised in the community from the Rotary Club of O’Neill, O’Neill Lion’s Club, Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa and private donations.
“The O’Neill Community Foundation Fund Advisory Committee was excited to help bring the Imagination Library project to O’Neill and support the first year, but we believe in the longevity of the program and how it can help O’Neill be a thriving community by investing in early childhood development within our community,” said Paula Havranek, O’Neill Fund Advisory Committee Chairperson.
While there is no cost to the families to sign up their children, the program does rely on financial support from the community. Annual costs are approximately $5,400 and help to cover the cost of the book and the mailing each month to every child signed up for the program.
Ongoing financial support to help sustain the program for years to come is always welcome. A $25 donation helps to cover the costs of the books and mailings for one child, for an entire year. Donations can be mailed to the O’Neill Community Foundation Fund, PO Box 294, O’Neill, NE 68763, in the memo of your check put Early Childhood or you can also donate online by visiting www.oneillcommunityfoundation.org. and clicking on Donate and selecting the Early Childhood account.
The grant funds from the O’Neill Community Foundation Fund are made available from a portion of the earnings on the Foundation’s Endowment Fund. Since 2005, the O’Neill Community Foundation Fund has awarded over $96,000 to local community and economic development projects.
Applications can be downloaded at www.oneillcommunityfoundation.org. The O'Neill Community Foundation Fund exists to improve the quality of life here in O'Neill, now and forever, and to build a culture of giving. The Foundation exists to help our community and to help donors do good work.... For good. For ever. The O’Neill Community Foundation Fund is an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation.