Major Gift Endows Early Childhood Literacy Outreach
February 26, 2013
The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation has announced a $1 million gift from The Herbert Simon Family Foundation (HSFF) to endow the administration of early literacy and technology programming for children up to age five as part of the Library's Ready to Read initiative, which has served over 23,000 children since its inception.
Launched in 2009 with an initial leadership gift from HSFF, Ready to Read prepares young children for a successful start in school with specialized programs and services that help them learn to read and use technology. It also equips parents and caregivers with free resources to guide their children in learning.
The most recent gift from HSFF specifically will endow the Library's position of Early Literacy Specialist whose expertise in early childhood development has led to the creation of strategic, research-based programming. The staff position also provides training for the Library's children's services staff and community childcare providers, technical assistance for the Library's outreach to 200 ministry and licensed home day cares, and leadership in forming partnerships with other early childhood organizations.
"We recognize the transformative power of early childhood learning," said Rachel M. Simon, member of the family's foundation. "The Library's services nurture the minds and futures of young, often underprivileged children and strengthen the landscape of early education within the community. We feel this is an incredible way to honor our dad's passion for books and reading. Sharing this joy and opportunity, as he has with me and my siblings, is the true gift."
With a rich collection of 125,000 picture books, new AWE early literacy computer stations, traditional storytimes, and digital programming that integrates books with high-tech tools, The Indianapolis Public Library is uniquely positioned to make important contributions to the community-wide effort of ensuring that children possess the skills needed for long-term success. Its free programming at 23 locations in Marion County is available to families and daycare centers free of charge.
"I am immensely grateful to the Herbert Simon Family for this investment in the future of our service to young children," stated Jackie Nytes, Library CEO. "They understand that this is some of the most critical work the Library does in the community, laying the foundation for educational success and strengthening those who care for and nurture our children. It is truly a gift to the entire community!"
The Library Foundation has generated additional support for Ready to Read from such organizations as AFSCME Local 725; Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation; Comcast; Indianapolis Franklin Township Lions Club, Inc.; Junior League of Indianapolis; KeyBank; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust; PNC Foundation; Rotary Foundation of Indianapolis; St. Vincent Health; Target; The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund and several individual donors.
Contact the Library Foundation at 275-4700 or visit http://www.indyplfoundation.org for more information on supporting Ready to Read and other Library programs.