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Nissan Employees Read to Preschoolers in Support of Imagintion Library Week

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | 11:47am

FRANKLINNissan North America is no stranger to the cause of early childhood literacy. A major corporate statewide sponsor of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) and the Imagination Library, the company contributed $100,000 to the GBBF for the fiscal year ending July 2012. This week, employees of the company read to Pre-K children in three local elementary schools – Franklin Elementary, Moore Elementary and Johnson Elementary – to commemorate Imagination Library Week.

“Nissan is committed to supporting education in Middle Tennessee,” said Vicki Smith, senior manager of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We know the power that books have to transform children’s lives for the better. Nissan is proud to support Tennessee’s Imagination Library, which helps to prepare children for a lifetime of learning.”

Since the inception of the GBBF in 2005, Nissan North America has provided grants totaling over $700,000 to the nonpartisan, non-profit foundation. The donated funds are used to provide new, age-appropriate books to preschool children enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Davidson, Franklin, Rutherford and Williamson counties. By fostering a love of learning and reading, the program helps registered children develop their vocabulary and boost their school readiness.

“Nissan North America is an ally of early childhood literacy and an important partner for the GBBF,” said Theresa Carl, president of the GBBF. “Outreach events like the employee visits to schools exemplify Nissan’s commitment to investing in the communities where its employees live and work.”

All of the state’s 407,000 children under age five have access to the Imagination Library. Created by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to the families and regardless of income.  Just $24 annually provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child.  This cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in each Tennessee county, and a state budgetary allocation administered by the GBBF.

To date, over 16 million books have been delivered since the program began in October 2004.

“Nissan’s ongoing support in the community has helped the GBBF distribute over 2.6 million books in Davidson, Franklin, Rutherford and Williamson Counties since 2005,” Carl said. “Aside from Nissan’s generous funding support, it’s become something of a tradition for Nissan employees to read to area preschoolers to celebrate Imagination Library Week, which the children love.”

An increasing amount of research supports the idea that children who grow up around books typically achieve better educational outcomes in school.

Currently, 44 percent of Tennessee third graders are reading on grade level. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.

In a recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute, research showed that programs like Books from Birth lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.

“The benefit of putting books in the hands of Tennessee’s preschoolers is truly immeasurable,” Carl said. “We are grateful to Nissan for investing in the future of our children and our state.”

About the GBBF:  The mission of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation is to sustain and strengthen Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in all 95 Tennessee counties, ensuring that new, age-appropriate books are mailed to Tennessee’s preschool children, at no cost to the family and regardless of income. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit,, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.

About Nissan North America:  In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and


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