A child literacy program that recently launched in Marion County is already growing. Hoosiers Read has announced an expansion into four additional counties thanks to a $1 million grant from the CenterPoint Energy Foundation.
Hoosiers Read says the funding will bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Vanderburgh, Vigo, Madison and Monroe counties. The funding will be divided evenly among the counties and support more than 18,000 children over five years.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides one free book each month to children ages 0-5, regardless of a family’s income. Hoosiers Read founder Ben Battaglia piloted the program in two Marion County zip codes.
In a recent interview with Inside INdiana Business, Battaglia said his goal was to eventually provide the service in all 92 counties.
“Hoosiers Read and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are working together to make sure every kid in Indiana grows up with books in their home. Investments like this in early reading have a significant, well-proven return on long-run academic success,” Battaglia said in a news release “I’m grateful for CenterPoint Energy Foundation’s generosity, vision, and partnership to get books in the hands of thousands of our youngest Hoosiers.”
CenterPoint Energy is headquartered in Texas, but has a major presence in Indiana after its acquisition of Vectren Corp. in 2019.