Bruening Supports Imagination Library

Strong Start Grant Awarded to The Literacy Cooperative for Imagination Library Expansion

In December 2016, the Bruening Foundation awarded $291,204 over four years to The Literacy Cooperative for expansion of Imagination Library to the communities of Bedford, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights and Warrensville Heights.  Imagination Library (IL) is a national program that was launched in 1996 by the Dollywood Foundation for Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevier County, TN.  Through the program, families can enroll their children ages 0-5 to receive a free book delivered by mail every month.  Today, 956,133 children in approximately 1,400 communities in 49 U.S. states participate in IL.  In 2015, IL distributed over 10 million books.

Locally, IL has been operating for 2 years in Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Shaker Heights, and University Heights and in adjacent Cleveland neighborhoods in 44106, 44119, and 44120. This operation has been sponsored and supported by the Heights Family Foundation (HFF).  HFF also recently expanded the program to Euclid.

Bruening Foundation funds will be used to engage a part-time program coordinator to bring IL under the umbrella of The Literacy Cooperative (TLC) to support expansion efforts as well as to purchase books for the newly expanded IL communities.  The coordinator will be responsible for outreach, enrollment and administration, as well as for the development and execution of wraparound programming for parents. TLC will also work to connect IL families to other literacy resources in the community.

The Bruening Foundation’s investment expands the number of children eligible for Imagination Library to over 20,000 in Cuyahoga County.