As children in Washington County prepare their Christmas lists for Santa, Marietta Community Foundation is working to give the kids a present that can last a lifetime.

The Foundation has pledged a $20,000 matching grant to be used towards their Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library [DPIL] program. Donors can pledge support for this dollar-for-dollar matching grant until the end of the year.

“We are serious about this program and we want the community to know it,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Foundation. “That’s why we aren’t just asking others to donate. We are also allocating money from our own funds!”

The campaign begins on a high note, as the Friends of the Washington County Public Library, a local nonprofit that supports reading-centered projects, has already partnered with the Foundation by donating $10,000 towards their $20,000 objective. This donation brings the Foundation halfway to its end-of-the-year goal.

“The Friends of the Washington County Public Library have been looking to support a program like this for years,” said Katherine Pekruhn, President of the organization. “We encourage reading with kids from birth on, and this was the first opportunity we found that we were overjoyed to partner with… you can never start reading to young.”

In July of this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine allocated $5 million, in the State of Ohio’s budget, to be used for a state-wide reading initiative called the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library [OGIL]. This initiative is in partnership with the DPIL and will match every dollar raised by DPIL Ohio affiliates, which includes the Foundation.

When the Foundation reaches its campaign goal, the $40,000 that has been donated will be matched by the state, bringing the total amount raised to $80,000.

Earlier this year the Foundation began to make a push to increase the early educational development of young children, in Washington County, through their affiliation with DPIL.

These efforts have paid off, as many donors have given support and registrations have more than quadrupled. However, the Foundation is far from their objective of having each child in Washington County, ages birth to five years old, registered through their program.

Children, who reside in Washington County, can be signed up through the OGIL’s website or by filling out a form at the Foundation’s office at the corner of Front and Putnam in Downtown Marietta.

“Raising support for this program is great, but ultimately we also need to get kids registered. The Foundation wants to lift up these kids and make a difference in their lives for the long-term…. that’s why our donors trust us because they want to make a difference too,” said Allender.

The Marietta Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational quality, donor service and accountability in the community foundation sector. Founded in 1974, the Marietta Community Foundation has grown over the years thanks to a number of generous gifts.

Marietta Community Foundation works to improve Washington County through grants and initiatives. If you are interested in learning more about their efforts, please contact Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or