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Dolly Parton visits Sioux Falls, United Way thanks her for Imagination Library

In anticipation of her upcoming concert at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center on Friday, July 22, Sioux Empire United Way thanks Dolly Parton for her continued support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and its partnership with United Way.

In 2001, Sioux Empire United Way became the first United Way to fund Dolly Parton Imagination Library books for children ages five and under in the community. Since then, the Imagination Library has spread to children in over 1,600 communities, including almost 11,000 children in the Sioux Empire. As of today, Sioux Empire United Way has funded 1,572,143 books through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library with the help of generous donations and volunteers.

“We are so thankful for all of our partners across the world who have given the gift of reading to their children. However Sioux Empire United Way will always be one of our most special partnerships,” said David Dotson, President of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. “Jay Powell [President of Sioux Empire United Way], his board, the staff and all of their volunteers have worked tirelessly to not only expand the program throughout their community but they have also promoted the Imagination Library across South Dakota and throughout the national United Way network.”

This is Parton’s first concert in Sioux Falls since 2002 when she hosted a concert with proceeds going to fund Imagination Library throughout the state of South Dakota.

Children who are read to frequently are more likely to count to 20 or higher, write their own names, and read or pretend to read. Additionally, students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scores in school.

“By United Way partnering with Imagination Library, high quality and age-appropriate books are mailed directly to children’s homes,” said Julia Brown, who manages the Imagination Library at Sioux Empire United Way. “The enjoyment of receiving their very own book is exciting and magical for children. These books provide families the opportunity to play, learn and explore, fostering a love of reading early in life and helping to give every child in the Sioux Empire the opportunity to succeed in life.”

Sioux Empire United Way partners with non-profit programs in Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Turner Counties. For more information regarding Sioux Empire United Way or the grant process, please visit