Smithfield Foods donates $12K to expand Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Recent legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly supports continued expansion

May 17, 2024

2 Min Read
Smithfield Foods

In the second year since the expansion of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library into Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Smithfield Foods has donated $12,000 to The DeGood Foundation, a local Imagination Library partner, to expand access of the book-gifting program for 2024.

"It's no secret that reading at an early age can have a profound impact on a child's life and future success," said Steve Evans, vice president, community development for Smithfield Foods. "Through our partnership with The DeGood Foundation, we're able to continue expanding literacy access to all children and deepening the program impact in Isle of Wight County, bolstering our commitment to do good work in our communities."

Recent legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly supports continued expansion of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library book gifting program in Virginia. Virginia State expansion monies were approved in 2022 and renewed for the next two years. Smithfield's $12,000 donation together with the Commonwealth's $12,000 funding match would provide $24,000 to Isle of Wight County, which will help distribute books to more children, supporting early literacy development, knowledge and fundamental skills.

This is the second year of Smithfield's support for The DeGood Foundation, following a $6,675 donation in 2023. Smithfield and the Foundation held a kick-off event in February 2023 at the Smithfield Center to celebrate and enroll local children in the program.

To date, 45% of eligible children in Isle of Wight County have been enrolled, with more than 7,600 books distributed to over 600 children in the county.

"We couldn't be more excited to continue to partner with our friends at Smithfield Foods to get more free books into the hands of more children," said Kyle DeGood, founder and executive director for The DeGood Foundation. "Our expansion to Isle of Wight County, made possible by Smithfield, was one of our best performing expansions to date. We're so grateful to be working with a corporate partner that cares so much for the communities where their associates live and work."

Enrolled children will receive a free brand-new, age-appropriate book in the mail every month from the time they are born to age five. Parents and guardians can register at their local library branch or online at The DeGood Foundation or Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Smithfield is committed to developing the next generation of leaders through donations to schools and education programs and providing scholarship assistance for 1,500 students globally by 2025. Last year, the company funded more than $2.5 million in education programs and awarded scholarships of more than $740,000 to 13 schools in seven states for the 2023–2024 school year.

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