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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: Karl Colon

United Way of the Greater Dayton Area is a visionary organization.  Starting in 2013, it had the vision to fund a project that is now bringing success through literacy to over 150,000 children across the State of Ohio, a program that has been adopted and promoted constantly by the Governor and First Lady of Ohio: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

When we first wanted to launch this program in 2013, United Way of the Greater Dayton area pledged an annual funding stream for the project, which was critical in attracting other donors. This vision and daring helped to launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Project which has provided more than 11,000 Greene County children with over 320,000 books. United Way’s commitment to success through literacy made possible a program that is one of the crown jewels of life in Greene County.

It gets better.  One family that recognized the power of the program was a family from Cedarville by the name of DeWine.  Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine had grandchildren in the Greene County program, and she resolved to get support from the State to make this program available to all of Ohio’s children.

Now – because of United Way of the Greater Dayton Area’s vision and support – this program is available to all children in Preble, Montgomery, and Greene Counties.  The cost of providing the program is shared between the State and the local community. 

This success has been replicated around the State.  United Way of the Greater Dayton Area’s leadership has created a model that now benefits over 150,000 children and is the gold standard for how communities can work together to bring success through literacy to our communities.

Thank you and bless you, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area.

-Karl Colon, Executive Director, Greene County Public Library