SMIF awards over 18,000 books for early childhood literacy

Published 8:21 am Monday, June 25, 2018

Representatives from early childhood organizations gathered on Thursday at the Owatonna Area Business Development Center to celebrate the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) Early Childhood Literacy program. This grant supports early literacy efforts that enhance school readiness for children birth to age five by providing them with books.

This year, SMIF awarded 18,275 books with a total value of $219,300 to 41 organizations in partnership with ABDO Publishing and Capstone, leading publishers of children’s books and digital products and services.

Award recipients could choose from a selection of titles donated by the publishing companies, including bilingual and early childhood appropriate books. The organizations will incorporate the books into their programs and events where young children will receive books to take home and keep.

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“Capstone believes that books not only open minds but doors for children,” said Christie Skilbred, Corporate Giving and Literacy Center Manager for Coughlan Companies, the holding company for Capstone. “We are grateful for our continued partnership with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation allowing us to reach more children together. We are excited for the positive lifelong effect the Literacy Grants will have on southern Minnesota’s youngest.”

Included in the list of Early Childhood Literacy grants were Blooming Prairie Public Schools, Fillmore Central Schools, Fillmore County Public Health, Freeborn County Public Health, Kasson-Mantorville Schools, Lanesboro Public Library, Leroy-Ostrander Public Schools, Kiwanis International – MN-DAK District, Albert Lea, Parenting Resource Center Inc, Austin, and Stewartville Public Schools.