Smithfield Foods Donates $12,000 to Expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Virginia

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In the second year since the expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library into Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Smithfield Foods has donated $12,000 to The DeGood Foundation, a local Imagination Library partner, to expand access of the book-gifting program for 2024.

“It’s no secret that reading at an early age can have a profound impact on a child’s life and future success,” said Steve Evans, vice president, community development for Smithfield Foods. “Through our partnership with The DeGood Foundation, we’re able to continue expanding literacy access to all children and deepening the program impact in Isle of Wight County, bolstering our commitment to do good work in our communities.”

Recent legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly supports continued expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library book gifting program in VirginiaVirginia State expansion monies were approved in 2022 and renewed for the next two years. Smithfield’s $12,000 donation together with the Commonwealth’s $12,000 funding match would provide $24,000 to Isle of Wight County, which will help distribute books to more children, supporting early literacy development, knowledge and fundamental skills.

This is the second year of Smithfield’s support for The DeGood Foundation, following a $6,675 donation in 2023. Smithfield and the Foundation held a kick-off event in February 2023 at the Smithfield Center to celebrate and enroll local children in the program.

To date, 45% of eligible children in Isle of Wight County have been enrolled, with more than 7,600 books distributed to over 600 children in the county.

“We couldn’t be more excited to continue to partner with our friends at Smithfield Foods to get more free books into the hands of more children,” said Kyle DeGood, founder and executive director for The DeGood Foundation. “Our expansion to Isle of Wight County, made possible by Smithfield, was one of our best performing expansions to date. We’re so grateful to be working with a corporate partner that cares so much for the communities where their associates live and work.”

Enrolled children will receive a free brand-new, age-appropriate book in the mail every month from the time they are born to age five. Parents and guardians can register at their local library branch or online at www.degoodfoundation.org or www.imaginationlibrary.com.

Smithfield is committed to developing the next generation of leaders through donations to schools and education programs and providing scholarship assistance for 1,500 students globally by 2025. Last year, the company funded more than $2.5 million in education programs and awarded scholarships of more than $740,000 to 13 schools in seven states for the 2023–2024 school year. For more information, visit https://smithfieldfoods.com/sustainability/helping-communities/.

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia, since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is a U.S. food company that employs more than 54,000 people in seven countries and partners with thousands of American farmers. As one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies, we are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” to feed a growing world population. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in our U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30% across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 U.S. states. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Gwaltney® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and connect with us on FacebookX, formerly known as Twitter, LinkedInInstagram and Threads.

About The DeGood Foundation
Founded by Kyle DeGood in 2017, The DeGood Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, ensures that all children on the Virginia Peninsula have equitable access to positive early childhood experiences that nurture, grow, and inspire through programs such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Bags of Hope. The foundation believes that children can achieve by inspiring them to Dream More, Learn More, Care More, and Be More. Since 2019, the foundation has mailed over 40,000 books to children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and has become one of the fastest growing affiliates of the Imagination Library in the state of Virginia. For more information, visit www.degoodfoundation.org, and connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. The Imagination Library mails more than 3 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to enrolled children from birth to age five. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to dream more, learn more, care more and be more.

The program has been widely researched and results demonstrate the positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit imaginationlibrary.com.