Marietta Community Foundation Matches Funds for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Washington County
As the Washington County, Ohio affiliate for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL), Marietta Community Foundation is committed to putting books into the hands and hearts of children from all across Washington County. In order to help increase the program’s capacity, the Foundation is encouraging all parents with children under 5 to enroll and launched a $20,000 “Match the Imagination” fundraising campaign. Through this campaign, the Foundation is matching donations to the Washington County Imagination Library fund to help support the influx of enrollment costs.
“We’re passionate about the program and want every single child in Washington County to be able to register,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of Marietta Community Foundation. “Far too often we have to inform a parent that we’re trying to solidify funding to register their child. We’re hoping that matching support from the community dollar-for-dollar will allow the fund to support the program’s growth.”
The raised funds will be used to cover the influx of enrollment costs and grow the fund to ensure the program’s overall sustainability — working to ensure that local children are able to enjoy a new book each month, regardless of their family’s financial ability.
This program is made available to families at no cost by donors to the Washington County Imagination Library fund at Marietta Community Foundation, and the organization’s partnership with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) program.
“The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is providing a lot of support right now by covering affiliate’s costs in January and February of 2022,” said Allender. “They see the value in growing the program, so if Washington County shows significant progress during that time, OGIL will cover the month of March too.”
Every child in Washington County is eligible to take advantage of this program.
A gift of $25 will provide books for one child for one year. A gift of $125 will provide one child with books for 5 years — from birth until age 5.
Since the Foundation announced its “Match the Imagination” Campaign in early February, the Foundation has reached and exceeded its initial goal of $20,000, and has increased its match to up to $30,000. Major contributions included a $10,000 donation from Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Company in partnership with the Spartan Foundation and a $10,000 contribution from the Marietta Friends of the Washington County Public Library.
“The most important form of education is self-education. The foundation for self-education is reading,” said Hap Esbenshade, Chairman and CEO of Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Company and President of the Spartan Foundation.
“The amount of support received so far from community members, Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Company, and the Spartan Foundation is a symbol of the Imagination Library’s substantial value,” said Allender. “Every child in Washington County is eligible to take advantage of this program, and these raised funds are the only reason that we can support them doing so.”
Voting to donate again to the Imagination Library Fund was an easy decision for [our] board.
The Friends of the Library had previously contributed $10,000 toward a matching campaign for the Imagination Library in 2019. “Voting to donate again to the Imagination Library Fund was an easy decision for [our] board,” said Sarah Stephens, President of the Marietta Friends of the Library. “We always welcome requests for funds that encourage the love of reading in children.”
The fund has also received support from the community, receiving dozens of donations towards the match. Allender shared her excitement about exceeding the campaign goal and is now encouraging the community to keep the momentum going.
“Initially, our hope was to increase program registrations and be able to cover the influx of enrollment costs without scrambling to secure funding,” she said. “We felt that $20,000 was adequate to eliminate the waitlist for a little while, but knew that more fundraising would be needed down the road. The community has really stepped up, and the Foundation is proud to announce that we will be capitalizing on this momentum by increasing our match to up to $30,000.”
The Foundation’s increased match brings the running total to $47,616 toward the Washington County Imagination Library fund, as of February 18th.
Donations will continue to be matched 1:1 until $30,000 has been raised. Gifts can be made online at https://mcfohio.betterworld.org/campaigns/matchtheimagination. Donations via checks are also welcomed. Checks can be sent to Marietta Community Foundation, 100 Putnam Street Marietta, OH 45750, and should include Match the Imagination in the memo.
Children who reside in Washington County can be enrolled in the program through the Ohio Governors Imagination Library website, https://ohioimaginationlibrary.org, or by filling out a form at the Foundation’s office.