The Communities' Greatest Needs Fund
In addition to the specific programs of Ready! Campaign, we are encouraging donors to support other education-related needs in the communities we serve such as opening college scholarship endowments, providing gifts to the Community Foundation's unrestricted grantmaking endowment for other projects, or supporting our local affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library early childhood literacy program.
One of our first big pushes into early childhood intervention, the Imagination Library mails one age-appropriate, expert-selected book directly to a child's home every month from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family. Local sponsors, led here by the Middletown Community Foundation, pay the book postage and purchase cost for local children, while Dolly Parton's Dolllywood Foundation covers the administration of the program at no charge. The first Middletown books were delivered in 2009, followed by the addition of Madison, Edgewood, and Monroe in 2011 and Franklin in 2014.
In the time that the Community Foundation has offered Imagination Library to Middletown children, the percentage of entering kindergarten scoring in the lowest tier of the kindergarten entrance assessment, indicating severe underpreparedness for starting school, decreased from 50 present of economically disadvantaged children to just 30 present of economically disadvantaged children. We also measure an average of 8 present higher score for children that receive books versus those whose parents did not sign up for the program.