GOVERNOR’S BOOKS FROM BIRTH FOUNDATION
Nissan North America deepened its investment in and commitment to early childhood literacy in Tennessee by granting $100,000 to Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, benefiting Imagination Library programs in Middle Tennessee where Nissan has facilities.
Nissan has contributed more than $1.2 million to the foundation, which supports Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, since 2005.
The donated funds will be used to provide age-appropriate books each month to preschool children who are enrolled in Imagination Library programs in Davidson, Franklin, Rutherford and Williamson counties — the four counties where Nissan has operational facilities in the state.
“Nissan sponsors many educational programs to help children learn and grow,” said Rebecca Vest, Nissan Vice President of Corporate Development and Social Responsibility. “Education nurtures opportunity and prepares young people for jobs that will someday support the communities where we live and work. Nissan is proud to partner with Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and Tennessee’s Imagination Library and their mission to support the education of so many children across our state.”
Since 2004, the Books from Birth Foundation has distributed more than 30 million Imagination Library books statewide to preschool-aged children in Tennessee. Currently, more than 279,000 children receive books each month. In Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Franklin counties, more than 1.5 million books have been delivered since 2004. In these counties, 47,659 children currently receive books each month.
“As we work together to increase the number of Tennessee third graders reading proficiently, Tennessee’s Imagination Library provides children with the early literacy skills to prepare for school and grow a love of learning,” said First Lady Crissy Haslam. “Thank you to Nissan and other statewide partners for their generous support of this program, giving all children in Tennessee the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library and build a foundation for educational success.”
Books from Birth promotes early childhood literacy in Tennessee’s birth to age five population. By supporting Tennessee’s Imagination Library program, the foundation funds 50% of the monthly cost of books and mailing statewide. Books from Birth envisions a Tennessee where all preschool children have books in their homes, develop a love of reading and learning, and begin school prepared to succeed, from kindergarten throughout their educational journeys.
“Tennessee’s Imagination Library provides the early exposure to books and reading skills that are critical for a child’s brain development, educational journey and success in life,” said Theresa Carl, president of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. “With several Middle Tennessee birthing hospitals now enrolling newborns in these counties into the program, Nissan’s commitment has never been so impactful in sustaining enrollment growth and giving the wonderful gift of books to our children.”
Currently, 43 percent of Tennessee third graders are reading at or above grade level. Studies show that students who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out of school later. The efforts of Books from Birth through Tennessee’s Imagination Library support the Read to Be Ready statewide education goal of raising Tennessee’s third grade reading proficiency level to 75 percent by 2025. Early childhood literacy programs like Tennessee’s Imagination Library lead to early language development, school readiness, and higher educational outcomes through the 5th grade. Further, students who were enrolled in the program are more likely to attend school more often and less likely to be suspended.