OWATONNA, MN, February 1, 2021 – 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 five by providing children with books. Organizations working with these children in SMIF’s 20-county region are encouraged to apply for books to be given to families to keep and read to their children.
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 children birth to age five. 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.
“Children’s lives have been disrupted this past year, so it is even more critical to provide young children and their families with books during this difficult time,” said Rae Jean Hansen, vice president of Early Childhood at SMIF. “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 development and future success.”
“We are proud to continue our 19-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.”
“The Early Literacy Grant program’s mission of getting books into the hands of young readers has become increasingly more important during this pandemic year,” said DeMar Borth, Director of Marketing for ABDO. “ABDO Publishing is very excited to be donating books again this year.”
Applications are due to SMIF by April 9. For more information or to apply, visit www.smifoundation.org. For questions about what SMIF might fund contact Heidi Coulter, Early Childhood Project Manager, at (507) 214-7016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABDO has been a leader in children’s educational publishing for school and public libraries since 1985, providing high quality nonfiction and fiction titles for children and young adults in grades PreK–12. The company is known throughout the industry for its excellence in both reading materials and customer service. ABDO titles are available in reinforced library bindings as well as digital products, including multi-use eBooks, Read-to-Me eBooks, and Databases. To learn more about ABDO visit www.abdobooks.com.