CANTON, Miss. – Through a $400,000 kick-start grant, Nissan is working with United Way of the Capital Area to provide free books every month to 35,000 eligible Mississippi preschoolers from birth to age 5 through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.
Nissan is awarding the grant as part of the celebration of its 10th anniversary of operations in Mississippi. The contribution enables United Way of the Capital Area to expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to include each child living in Hinds, Madison and Rankin County over the next five years.
“I am thrilled and thankful that United Way and Nissan are joining hands to bring Imagination Library to the kids of the Capital area. It takes special people to do special things and I know we are doing something special in Mississippi,” said Dolly Parton, country music legend and founder of Imagination Library.
Imagination Library was created by country music legend Dolly Parton and is administered locally by United Way of the Capital Area. The grant announcement was made at the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson, Miss., in an event that included local parents and children, community leaders and Nissan employee volunteers.
“Nissan is committed to improving education programs and opportunities in Mississippi,” said Nissan Director of Human Resources Jeffrey Webster. “As we celebrate our first 10 years of successful operations in Mississippi, we are pleased to stand with United Way and so many others who are committed to helping children prepare to succeed in school and in life.”
Children throughout the three counties are eligible to participate in the program. Each month, an age-appropriate book will be mailed to participants giving them the potential to build a personal library of up to 60 books. Parents are encouraged to read the books with their children.
“Over the last decade, Nissan has demonstrated a focused commitment to our organization and the community at large,” said Carol Burger, president and CEO of United Way of the Capital Area. “Today’s announcement stands as further testament to Nissan’s leadership and dedication to promoting educational advancement and will play a key role in securing the future success of our Mississippi youth.”
Parents will be able to enroll their children for the program at local preschools, day care centers, libraries and community events. United Way of the Capital Area will make further announcements as the expanded program rolls out later this year.
Parton launched the Imagination Library program in 1996, focusing on her home county in Tennessee. Today the program reaches more than 700,000 children in 1,600 communities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Nissan Canton vehicle assembly plant began operations in 2003 and employs more than 5,000 people with an annual payroll in excess of $200 million. Nissan has announced plans to move assembly of the next-generation Nissan Murano to Canton from Japan beginning in 2014. Canton employees currently build the award-winning Altima, Sentra compact sedan, Armada full-size SUV, Xterra mid-size SUV, Titan and Frontier pickup trucks, and NV full-size commercial cargo and passenger vans.
Since 2003, along with its generous employees, Nissan has awarded more than $8 million in grants, academic scholarships and other gifts. Additionally, Nissan employees volunteer many hours annually to community organizations, including working with students in the classroom and as one-on-one mentors.