Helping kids read: Deadline to apply for Bessie Minor Swift Foundation grant is Feb. 15 |

Helping kids read: Deadline to apply for Bessie Minor Swift Foundation grant is Feb. 15

Little Boy Reading Picture Book
Getty Images/moodboard RF | moodboard RF

When Fruita’s chapter of The Dolly Parton Imagination Library received $1,500 from the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation in 2013, that money went directly to local children.

“The funding provided 60 kids (up to age 5) books for one full year,” library coordinator and Fruita resident Virginia Keller said. The purpose (of the program) is to get parents involved with reading to their children, and the books are so perfect — bright colors, pictures, age appropriate. These are high-quality books.”

Parents may sign their kids up for the Imagination Library through the Fruita Thrift Shop, located at 142 S. Park Square. Books are then delivered once a month through the mail until the child goes to kindergarten.

Currently, the library has 350 kids on its roster, Keller said, which annually costs about $9,000. The remainder of 2013 funding came from other grants, private donors, etc.

“Last year was the first time we applied for (the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation) grant,” she noted, adding that the partnership was a “perfect match” because of the foundation’s literacy focus.

According to a Bessie Minor Swift Foundation news release, grants are awarded to organizations that assist children with literacy programs. The foundation also “supports programs in the arts, languages and sciences for preschool, primary and secondary school-aged children.

“The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation was formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, which owns and operates the Grand Junction Free Press and”

Applications for the 2014 grant cycle will be accepted through Feb. 15; the board will consider requests between $500 and $2,500. Recipients will be notified May 1.

“We encourage nonprofit organizations in Mesa County that feel they meet the criteria to apply,” Swift Communications manager of special projects Valerie Richardson said. “Remember, last year a group from this area, which is affiliated with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, was awarded grant money for their wonderful program. All applications are appreciated and will be thoughtfully reviewed and considered.”

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