SMIF announces BookStart grant availability

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In an effort to promote early childhood literacy, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Capstone are offering BookStart grants to regional organizations working with young children. Now in its 15th year, the BookStart program is intended to ensure every child has their own book at home to read or be read to by family members.

Capstone is providing 10,000 children’s books to the BookStart program. Awarded organizations will be able to choose from a wide selection including bilingual and early childhood appropriate books.

“SMIF’s long-time partnership with Capstone is key to our work in promoting early literacy,” SMIF’s Early Childhood Director Teri Steckelberg said. “We know that the education gap between families with resources versus those without starts early, which is why we strive to get more books to kids of all backgrounds in our region through programs like BookStart.”

Email newsletter signup

“Capstone is honored and excited to be part of the BookStart program and continue our valued partnership with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation,” said Christie Skilbred, corporate Giving and Literacy Center manager of Coughlan Companies, the parent company of Capstone. “This program aligns with our goal of bringing books into children’s hands and homes to help develop a love of reading and learning.”

Applications should reflect collaboration with other organizations that support reading, target populations that may not have access to books and promote early childhood learning through literacy at the family level. Eligible projects must be within SMIF’s 20-county area. Applications are due April 7. Awards will be announced at the end of April, with a book pick-up celebration in June.

Organizations wanting to be a part of this effort to promote literacy and learning among the region’s youngest citizens are encouraged to apply for a BookStart grant.Visit for details or contact Teri Steckelberg at for more information.