MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - The Marietta Community Foundation (MCF) reported Thursday that, through its participation in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) and Governor’s Imagination Library (GIL) programs, it has given free books to approximately 800 Washington County children aged zero to five. That amounts to nearly 30% of the county’s children in that age group.
Through the DPIL and GIL, registered children receive a free, age-appropriate book each month.
The DPIL is an international program with affiliates in local communities. Several years ago, the MCF used donations to establish the DPIL in Washington County. As the DPIL grew in popularity, some states, including Ohio, adopted it as essentially a statewide initiative. When Ohio adopted the program in more recent years, Governor DeWine allocated $5 million in the state’s budget to the program. And Washington County, already being an affiliate, had a solid foundation to grow its local program, according to Mason Beuhring, communications and program services director at MCF.
Since the program has been active, Washington County has seen a growth rate of 23% in terms of children registered, whereas most other counties in the state have grown an average of about 9%.
“We already had the groundwork laid, so we’re going to have a greater jumpstart than people just getting the program started in different counties. But honestly, I think a lot of the growth that we experience is due to our donors...and also our communications, getting the service out into the community,” Beuhring said.
Beuhring added that the MCF has worked with local hospitals, doctors, human service organizations, schools, daycares, and more to promote the program.
“We know we’re providing an incredible service to these kids and their families, and it’s something that we’re proud to do,” Beuhring said.
In fact, the program has grown so rapidly that the MCF has had to temporarily halt new registrations.
“Unfortunately, in order to sustain the program, we ended up having to turn new registrations off temporarily. We plan to have registrations open back up...we really are trying to build this endowment by bringing more donation dollars in to where we can sustain this program forever. ” Beuhring said. “We want to get as many kids registered as possible. We really want to set them up for success,” he added.
Those interested in learning more about the program can do so by visiting the Marietta Community Foundation’s website. Find that link under Related Links on the right side of this screen.