I am a Rotarian new to District 5020, having been a past president, past District Governor and past Zone Foundation Coordinator in District 5450, Colorado. My wife and I have supported Dolly Parton’s Imagination (DPIL) for many years and think it is one of the most important initiatives supporting literacy in our country. For those who don’t know about the Imagination Library, it is the creation of Dolly Parton that sends an age-appropriate book each month personally to a child from birth until they reach age five. Since its inception, The Dollywood Foundation has had a relationship with Rotary.
When my wife and I joined Port Townsend Noon Rotary, we found out they were a new affiliate of the DPIL program with the goal of registering children in all of Jefferson County. We have been very busy raising funds and registering children who are already receiving their books. It is a very popular program within the community and has gained tremendous support from our local libraries, teachers, and social services groups. News spreads fast within young parent networks so the demand has been exciting.
Now comes the great surprise! The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has set aside 2.3 million dollars in a contract with United Ways of the Pacific Northwest in partnership with The Dollywood Foundation to support DPIL. The program is run by fellow Rotarian and President of Longview Rotary, Brooke Fisher-Clark, who is the Executive Director of Washington Imagination Library Expansion. Any organization (501c3 nonprofit) in Washington that becomes an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will automatically receive a one-to-one match from these contract funds. Your club will not have to apply for the match. What that means is that the cost to your club of raising $25 per year per registered child will be cut in half.
It is my hope that Rotary clubs in District 5020 would work together and take on this project in their communities. Even more, Rotary clubs throughout Washington would do the same. Let’s not let this money sit idle!
For more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and how to start a program in your area and become a Rotary affiliate or supporter of DPIL, please reach out to Brooke at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the information at www.imaginationlibrary.com.
Executive Director of WA Imagination Library Expansion
In service to Literacy
Peter Ewing MD
Port Townsend Noon Rotary