Amazon Invests In Early Childhood Literacy With $6,250 Donation Benefiting "Project Ready For School"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The United Way of Greater Chattanooga thanked Amazon – the world’s largest online retailer and a statewide partner of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) – for the recent $6,250 contribution to its “Project Ready for School” program at an event on Tuesday hosted by the Chambliss Center for Children.

The gift was one-fourth of Amazon’s total donation to the GBBF ($25,000), which was distributed evenly among the four counties where Amazon has fulfillment centers – Bradley, Hamilton, Rutherford and Wilson – and used to provide free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to preschool children (up to 5 years old) living in those areas. Eva Dillard, CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga, thanked Amazon for its generosity, citing the tremendous impact the gift will make in the local community.

“Amazon’s donation to the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation demonstrates a huge commitment to local communities and to United Way of Greater Chattanooga in support of early childhood education in our community,” said Ms. Dillard. “Project Ready for School and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are key components in our work in education – early childhood literacy is a major steppingstone on the path to education success and high school graduation. Support from Amazon and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation will enable United Way of Greater Chattanooga to provide more books to children in our communities. Reading to children is the best way to build the vocabulary they need to succeed in school.”

The company known for shipping its distinctive packages to consumers’ doorsteps is helping the GBBF and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library put books in the mailboxes of Tennessee’s youngest readers.

“As the world’s leading online retailer, Amazon has become virtually synonymous with ‘books,’ and its generous gift of $25,000 only strengthens that association,” said Theresa Carl, GBBF president. “We are truly grateful to Amazon for its commitment to ensuring that free books reach preschool children and investing in their growth and development.”

Mike Thomas, general manager of Amazon’s Chattanooga Fulfillment Center, was on hand to read a book to a class of preschoolers, where he expressed his company’s continuing support for the cause of early childhood literacy.

“Amazon is thrilled to partner with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation by supporting its mission of making sure children have books available at home,” Mr. Thomas said. “Reading is so important in the development and growth of children. The Imagination Library program allows Amazon to make a difference in the lives of so many young Tennesseans, which is humbling and gratifying.” 

All of Tennessee’s 408,000 children under age five have access to the Imagination Library, and an Imagination Library program affiliate exists in all 95 counties in the state. Begun by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tn., the Imagination Library mails one new, high-quality, age-appropriate book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to families, regardless of income. Nearly 18 million books have been delivered since the GBBF’s inception in October 2004. Approximately $24 annually (or $2 per book) provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. With funding support from the Tennessee General Assembly, various foundations, individual donors and small businesses, and a host of corporate sponsors, the GBBF matches ($12 per book, per child) all funds raised by each of Tennessee’s Imagination Library program affiliates – a dynamic public-private partnership unlike any other in the U.S.

Tennessee is the only state to have the Imagination Library program in every one of its counties.

An increasing amount of research points to the universally positive impact of having books in the home. Imagination Library participants from both low-income and middle-income households arrive to kindergarten more prepared to learn than nonparticipants. A 2010 study indicated that simply having more books around the house correlates to a child’s completing more years of formal education. In January of this year, a team of researchers concluded that reading to a child in an interactive style can raise the child’s IQ by as much as six points.

Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later. In a recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute, research showed that programs like the Imagination Library lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.

“The benefit of putting books in the hands of Tennessee’s preschoolers is truly immeasurable,” Ms. Carl said.


North Chattanooga Council Hosts Group Photo Aug. 4

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s North Chattanooga Council will host a group photo with all North Chattanooga Chamber member businesses on  Tuesday, Aug. 4 . Attendees should meet at Renaissance Park Pavilion at  11:30 a.m.  and proceed from there to the Renaissance Hill to take a group photo.   Networking and lunch will follow the photo at ... (click for more)

Pink Heals National Firetruck Tour Visits Hamilton Place

The 2015 Pink Heals National Firetruck tour will stop at Hamilton Place on  Tuesday, Aug. 4  from  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.  and on Saturday, Sept. 12 from  10 a.m.  –  7 p.m.      Pink Heals began in 2007 to help people battling cancer, with a focus on women. The organization uses the theme of public safety with pink fire trucks ... (click for more)

Zaxby's To Go In Across From Bass Pro Shop At New I-75 Exit 1 Development In East Ridge

A new Zaxby's will be built across from Bass Pro Shop at I-75's Exit 1 in East Ridge, developer John Healy said Thursday night. He said other restaurants and hotels are also coming to the Jordan Crossing site at the entrance to Camp Jordan Park. Mr. Healy said he hopes to make a "significantly larger" announcement soon. The East Ridge City Council, at a special called meeting, ... (click for more)

Young Man Involved In Incident That Led To A Murder Gets Diversion, Praise For Testifying

A young man who was involved in an incident that led to a murder has been given diversion and praised for testifying against co-defendants. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said a conviction for facilitation of an aggravated robbery can be expunged if Dustin Hayes gets in no further trouble for six years. The judge said, "We wouldn't be dealing with 40 shootings a year ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's Memorial Day

It is recorded in the Fourth Chapter of the Book of Joshua, that after the nation had crossed the River Jordan, Joshua would receive a divine commandment to choose 12 men from among the people and tell them to take 12 stones from the middle of the river.  Each man placed a stone on their shoulder which represented one of the tribes of Israel, and served as a memorial ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: They Still Love The ‘Lickers’

When Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fl.) introduced the 2015 version of the “Prevent All Soring Tactics” in Congress this week, he already had a bipartisan crowd of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats as co-sponsors. That’s hardly amazing. Today there are over 280 organizations, associations, veterinary and animal advocates who vehemently support the legislation, because it is well documented, ... (click for more)