Donation from 1889 Foundation supports the Dolly Parton Imagination Library

University Advancement | 11/03/2022

Check presentation from 1889 Foundation to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Check presentation participants from left to right: Dr. Don Walkovich, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education; Ms. Linda Kline, Coordinator; Dr. Melissa Peppetti, Director of Graduate Education; Sue Mann, President 1889 Foundation; Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D., SFU President

Saint Francis University receives generous donation from the 1889 Foundation to help support childhood literacy in Cambria County

The 1889 Foundation recently awarded $25,000 to Saint Francis University in support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The program makes books available to children in Cambria County from birth to age five and is entirely free for families regardless of income. The Dollywood Foundation takes care of selecting and purchasing high quality, age-appropriate books for eligible children and mails them every month to their homes. Saint Francis University coordinates the families’ registrations and pays a small monthly fee to cover the shipping.

“Childhood Development is one of 1889 Foundation’s five priority funding initiatives, therefore we are happy to be able to partner with Saint Francis University and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library by investing in early childhood learning by getting books in the hands of our youngest residents in Cambria County,” said Susan Mann, President, 1889 Foundation.

"The 1889 Foundation is a champion for childhood development, and we are grateful to them for their support and recognition of this tremendous early childhood literacy program,” said Melissa Peppetti, director of graduate education programs at Saint Francis, and who is leading the program. “In partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the university has placed 20,000 books into the hands of 2,100 children in Cambria County. We do so proudly through SFU's Dorothy Day Outreach Center and the Graduate Education Department as part of our mission to support families and promote children's literacy. Given that there are more than 6,000 eligible families with children from birth to age 5 in Cambria County, the 1889 Foundation’s critical financial support enables us to continue to reach as many children as possible.”

Families from Cambria County may sign up for the program on Dolly's site:

How to Donate

A donation of only $26 will provide one book per month to a child in Cambria County for one year while $127 will cover that same child for the entire program. Every dollar raised supports placing a book in a child’s hands since the University takes no administrative fees for managing the program. Individuals interested in supporting the program can make a gift online by going to