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Elkay invests in Carroll and Stephenson County 
in support of United Way of Northwest Illinois’ Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program

Stephenson & Carroll County, IL – The United Way of Northwest Illinois is excited to announce the sponsorship of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library from Elkay. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which was launched locally in March 2016, has grown to currently serve over 270 children in Carroll County and over 1600 in Stephenson County.

Elkay has offered its generous support of the program because of their strong commitment to children and education in the communities in which they have operations.  Elkay is a long-time employer in the area. They recently opened a new state-of-the-art distribution center in Freeport, IL, and have existing manufacturing facilities in Savanna and Lanark.  Investing in the local Dolly Parton Imagination Library program seemed like a natural step that would benefit the community at large, including many of the company’s employees who have young children at home.

“Elkay has a long-standing commitment to giving back to the community,” said Elkay’s Vice President of Plumbing Operations, Kraig Kniss. “Few investments make a greater impact than those that support literacy and early childhood education, both of which can have tremendous implications for lifelong wellbeing. Our decision to invest in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a direct reflection of our belief in the importance of education and literacy. In many ways, this sort of investment can be considered a long-term strategy for helping to build our workforce of the future.”

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is open to all children ages 0-5, who live in Stephenson and Carroll Counties.  The program provides an age-appropriate book mailed to their home once a month.  Parents can register their children by going online ( and completing a simple registration form or by contacting the United Way of Northwest Illinois office at 815-232-5184.

“We are so thankful to Elkay for partnering with the United Way of Northwest Illinois to make the Dolly Parton Imagination Library a reality in our region  Not all areas have access to DPIL, and it is because of our sponsors that we can reach more children through the program.  We are continually impressed by the positive impact that DPIL is having for children and education in our local communities.” Connie Kraft- Executive Director United Way of Northwest Illinois


For more information the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, United Way of Northwest Illinois and how your organization or business can help to support the program, please contact the United Way of Northwest Illinois.


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United Way of Northwest Illinois is a leader in providing human and financial resources to identified health and human service needs to improve the quality of life in Carroll, Stephenson and Jo Daviess Counties.  We focus in three key areas Education, Income (financial stability), and Health and have partnered with a wide variety of organizations over the years to building stronger, healthier, and more sustainable communities.




United Way of Northwest Illinois, Inc. receives grant from the Little Free Library Impact Program for a Little Free Library at Freeport Police Department

The Little Free Library is part of United Way of Northwest Illinois’ Early Literacy efforts promoting early childhood literacy.

These libraries help to communicate the importance of getting children engaged in reading and learning at an early age by making books available to children who may not otherwise have access to building a home library. Reading is a critical bridge to success in school, work and life.

At 10:30 June 21st the Freeport PD unveiled their LFL.

Freeport PD Chief Barkalow supports the Little Free Library and says as a former teacher, he understands the importance of reading and has always encouraged it with his own kids who are still avid readers. He looks forward to seeing our community utilize the books in the LFL and encourages everyone to come Take a Book and Share a Book!

Having a LFL at the Freeport Police Department brings a sense of community and provides an opportunity for the police to connect with the community through non-traditional community outreach. Having an outdoor location especially provides a connection point with neighbors and community members. Additionally, when parents come to the station to conduct police business, the book exchange can provide children with an upbeat distraction and a positive reinforcement of reading habits. The libraries offer unlimited access to books. With a “take one, leave one” concept, readers can borrow a book and leave a book to share with others. The books are free and replenished by United Way, Freeport PD, and with donations from the community.  In our area there are 7 other LFL’s with this being the eighth. The Freeport PD LFL will be listed on the National LFL Registry. Only one other in Freeport is listed on the registry.

Thank you to the Freeport PD, for partnering with United Way and offering a community location for this LFL, the team at Metlife that volunteered to put the kit together and the city public works department for the installation.


For more information on United Way of Northwest Illinois and locations of additional Little Free Libraries contact United Way at 815-232-5184 or