Piedmont Gas Joins Governor's Statewide Children's Literacy Effort

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 7:00pm

Local Natural Gas Utility Pledges $150,000 to Support
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE – The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) today announced a three-year, $150,000 collaboration with Piedmont Natural Gas to support Imagination Library programs in the nine Middle Tennessee counties served by the energy services provider.
 
Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, hardcover book every month to registered children from birth until age five – at no cost to the family, regardless of income. The cost of purchasing and delivering books –just $28 per child, per year– is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county, and State funds administered by the GBBF. Piedmont’s contribution will be allocated toward the sponsoring organizations’ share –$14 per child, per year– in nine middle Tennessee counties.
 
“Piedmont’s contribution will put quality books into the hands of almost 11,000 of Tennessee’s youngest citizens for a full year – children who may not have otherwise been exposed to books and reading prior to entering Kindergarten,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “We are pleased to have Piedmont Natural Gas on board and look forward to celebrating the fruits of their sponsorship of this important program for many more years to come.”
 
Piedmont’s annual contribution of $50,000 over a three-year period will be divided among Imagination Library sponsoring organizations in the nine middle Tennessee counties served by the energy services company. Funds will be allocated to the following counties according to current numbers of under-five children registered in the program: Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.
 
“We are delighted to add momentum to the mission of Tennessee’s Imagination Library, helping to prepare children for success in school, and in life,” said Thomas E. Skains, Chairman, President and CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas. “We recognize that a stronger workforce and economy starts with investments in early childhood programs; this pledge affirms our belief that the Imagination Library will enhance and increase educational opportunities for generations of Tennesseans.”
 
Any child under age five living in Tennessee can be registered for the Imagination Library. According to 2000 U.S. Census results, 52 percent of the state’s total eligible population –almost 194,000 preschoolers– are registered and will receive a free book in their mailboxes during the month of May. With over 80,000 Tennessee five-year-olds having already “graduated,” Tennessee’s Imagination Library has served more than 274,000 children and delivered over 5.1 million books since Gov. Bredesen established the GBBF in 2004.
 
In Tennessee, Piedmont Natural Gas distributes natural gas to 165,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, employs over 200 Tennesseans, and maintains several thousand miles of transmission and distribution pipeline. Through its Nashville operations, Piedmont has sponsored the annual Nashville Christmas Parade for 55 consecutive years; was a co-founder of Project Help, a program to assist low-income, elderly and disabled customers in paying their heating bills; and was a Lead Investor in Partnership 2010, an economic development initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Overall, Piedmont serves over one million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Its subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate transportation. Learn more: www.PiedmontNG.com.
 
To learn how you can support the Imagination Library in your county, or for information on registering a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org, or call toll-free, 1-877-99-BOOKS.

Books from Birth