SMIF Announces BookStart Grants Available

(Owatonna, February 10, 2015) In an effort to promote early childhood literacy, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) and Capstone are partnering for the thirteenth year of the BookStart program. The goal of this partnership is to ensure every child has their own book at home to read or be read to by family members. Applications are being accepted through March 31, 2015.

For the fourth consecutive year, Capstone is providing 10,000 children's books to the BookStart program. Awarded organizations will be able to choose from a wide selection including bilingual and early childhood appropriate books.

"Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation believes that investing in early childhood pays big dividends for communities and businesses, which is why we are so pleased to be able to provide books to young children once again this year," explained Tim Penny, SMIF President/CEO. "We know that having a book of their own encourages young children to develop a life-long love of reading - a key ingredient for a healthy life of learning, achieving, and succeeding."

"This program is near and dear to the heart of Coughlan Companies. We have a strong culture of giving throughout. We hope this program helps to create a community of readers in each community that receives the BookStart books," said Maryellen Coughlan, Director of Corporate Giving and Social Responsibility.

Applications should reflect collaboration with other organizations that support reading, target populations that may not have access to books, and promote early childhood learning through literacy at the family level. Eligible projects must be located within SMIF's 20-county area. Applications are due March 31, 2015.

Organizations wanting to be a part of this effort to promote literacy and learning among the region's youngest citizens are encouraged to apply for a BookStart grant. Visit www.smifoundation.org for details or contact Lynn Smith (lynns@smifoundation.org) for more information.

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation:
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in 20 Minnesota counties. The Foundation has provided more than $50 million in grants and loans within the region during the past 29 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.smifoundation.org.

About Capstone:
Capstone is a leading publisher of children's books in nonfiction and fiction, digital products and services and literacy programs. Capstone's content comes in a variety of print and digital formats including board books, picture books, interactive books, apps, audio and databases. Imprints under Capstone include Capstone Press, Stone Arch Books, Picture Window Books, Heinemann Raintree and Compass Point Books. For more information, visit www.CapstonePub.com.

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