SMIF seeking applications for Early Literacy Grants

Published 6:34 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with publishing companies Capstone and ABDO, is accepting applications for its Early Literacy Grant program.

This grant is designed to support early literacy efforts that enhance school readiness for children birth to age eight by providing children with books. Nonprofit organizations working with these children and their families in SMIF’s 20-county region are encouraged to apply.

“Reading books to young children is critical for their development,” said Rae Jean Hansen, SMIF’s vice president of early childhood. “We are grateful to Capstone and ABDO for their continued partnership in this program to provide parents and children in the region with the support they need for their future success.”

In 2002, Capstone helped launch the BookStart program, working with SMIF to distribute thousands of books to children in the region over a period of 15 years. In 2018, the Early Literacy Grant was formed as a new collaborative effort between SMIF and the two Mankato-based publishing companies to put even more books into the hands of young children. SMIF has also previously partnered with both Capstone and ABDO on collectively distributing more than one hundred thousand books across the region through grants and programming.

“We are so incredibly proud to continue our 20-year partnership with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation to invest in our children through literacy,” said Gail Beer, Capstone vice president of customer relations and operations. “Capstone believes in giving every child the building blocks for lifelong success and that starts with access to books. SMIF is doing important work to change the lives of children in our community and we’re so honored to be a part of that.”