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Best Beginnings offers community grants

Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2010

JUNEAU - Best Beginnings, a public-private partnership mobilizing people and resources to ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed, is taking applications for Imagination Library and Early Childhood Partnerships, two community programs in Alaska that enhance the lives of young children and their families.

Guidelines, requests for proposals, and other information are available on the Best Beginnings Web site, www.BestBeginningsAlaska.org, or by calling 907-297-3300.

Best Beginnings is soliciting proposals to launch Imagination Library in new communities and expand it in communities that already have the program. Successful applicants receive matching funds and technical assistance. The deadline for submitting proposals is 5 p.m. May 21.

Best Beginnings is working to expand Dolly Parton's Imagination Library throughout Alaska. Presently, 31 communities have the program under 15 local Imagination Libraries. This latest round of grants is funded by the Rasmuson Foundation and allows communities with schools not making adequate yearly progress to apply for 100 percent funding for books, provided local residents take on all volunteer tasks.

Imagination Library mails a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child from birth to age 5 who signs up for the program in their community, regardless of family income. The Dollywood Foundation manages the system to deliver the books to the home.

Early childhood partnerships are local groups organized around early childhood. The partnerships evaluate the strengths and needs of their communities, identify priorities, and develop strategic plans to address those priorities. Best Beginnings provides financial support and organizational assistance for their work.

The deadline for partnership grants is May 31.

Grants for these partnerships are based on the belief that local residents are in the best position to know their problems, design solutions, and work together to meet their needs.

Best Beginnings' goal is to build a network of community and regional organizations that support early childhood services. The result: better, more efficient services for families - in family friendly communities.



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