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Chase grant boosts preschool book program in Elgin area

Updated: January 21, 2013 3:49PM

ELGIN — The United Way of Elgin has announced that the JPMorgan Chase Foundation has renewed its commitment to the local Dolly Parton Imagination Library program with a $25,000 grant. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library sends free books monthly to Elgin-area children to age 5.

“We are thrilled and grateful that JPMorgan Chase Foundation has chosen to continue supporting this important program,” said United Way President Lynne Bosley.

“This grant is a critical foundation to a program that helps our local children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed,” Bosley said.

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation says its goal is to be the catalyst to meaningful, positive and sustainable change within high-need neighborhoods.

100,000-plus books

Since launching in the area in February 2009, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has sent more than 108,000 books to 5,600 children in Elgin, South Elgin, Burlington, Hampshire and Pingree Grove.

Parents can learn how to register their children to receive books by visiting and clicking the “Free Books” link in the lower left corner.

The Imagination Library was started by Dolly Parton in 1996 in her hometown in Tennessee, and was launched as a national program in 2000. The project aims to foster a love of reading by providing all children, regardless of family income, with a library of books.

Bosley said that at United Way of Elgin, the program is one of many education initiatives that “work to ensure that the families in our community have the capacity to act as primary caregivers, with particular focus on creating home and school environments where children and youth have every opportunity to become literate, secure and prepared for productive adulthood.”

The program is currently funded by grants from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, EFS Foundation, the Hoffer Foundation, the Elgin Township government, the Target Foundation, The Fideliter Club of Elgin and donations from individual area residents.

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