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Creating Young Philanthropist

“No gift is too small, every dollar counts and is greatly appreciated,” words we often hear at a United Way training or rally. Raising over $20,000 from coin collection is just that proof too! Everyday Sioux Empire United Way is creating a future philanthropist, our Coins for Kids program is helping accomplish this within our young students.

Since 1998, Sioux Empire United Way has received campaign support from area youth through Coins for Kids. Students use small change canisters to join the community effort, in support of a beloved program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Each fall, small canisters are distributed to participating elementary schools, who ask their students to fill it with whatever pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters they want to contribute. Over the years, this program has expanded from just Sioux Falls Public to Citi’s Bright Horizons and Harrisburg’s elementary every other year and this past fall, we asked Sioux Falls Christian to consider being involved and they were ecstatic!

"The "Coins for Kids" program is a practical yet powerful way for our young people to serve our newest Sioux Falls neighbors and friends.  Studies show the more exposure toddlers have to good literature, the more likely they will grow up as passionate readers.  There isn't a better gift to give a child than a book and the "Coins for Kids" program goes toward that very gift."  Stated Matt Covey, Sioux Falls Christian Elementary Principal.

Sioux Falls Christian ran their program a little different than Sioux Falls Public, handing out canisters during an all-school assembly in November just before Thanksgiving and then not returning them until the next assembly the week before Christmas. Every year, Matt Covey said, “We like to have a winter project to give back in some way, this (Coins for Kids) seemed to be a great fit knowing our students will be familiar with these books.”

The morning the project was announced, the student’s excitement filled the gym! They couldn’t wait to get their canisters and start collecting, might have also been the friendly competition among classrooms that added to the encouragement, none-the-less, they got to work!

It is not just about the dollars raised, but also the awareness of a Sioux Empire United Way funded program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Students are aware that the change they collect is used to ensure that young children have access to books through United Way and Imagination Library.

Funds raised from Coins for Kids will provide 10,000 books in the hands of children. As of this year, 11,100 children are currently receiving books through Imagination Library.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the size of the gift, but the impact that you can make within your community. This program is proof that when everyone gives a little, it adds up. Together, we can make a difference.