For Immediate Release: November 14, 2023

SACRAMENTO – One thousand more Yolo County children will receive a free book every month from birth through age 5 from United Way California Capital Region, which manages the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Yolo County. The expansion is thanks to United Way’s corporate partner PNC and a $95,000 grant from PNC Foundation that will be matched dollar-for-dollar with funds from the California State Library.   

“PNC has done an incredible job with its PNC Grow Up Great® initiative to ensure preschool children get the skills they need to succeed later in life,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Part of our work at United Way is to create deep partnerships that ensure caring corporations like PNC can extend their mission into the community. Thanks to this partnership, a thousand more kids in Yolo County will start build a passion for reading and learning.”

According to the Yolo County Office of Education, only 5% of elementary and middle school students test at or above reading proficiency level. Nearly 45% of students are economically disadvantaged.

“We understand that achieving or surpassing early childhood literacy benchmarks is closely linked to a successful academic career, paving the way for improved employment prospects and the ability to disrupt the cycle of poverty,” Early said. “Through our partnership with PNC, we are dedicated to instilling a love for reading early in a child’s life. Research shows that children who struggle with reading proficiency by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. We make this investment in our community’s youth to not only foster a love for learning but to break the cycle of poverty in our region.”

Since 2004, PNC Grow Up Great  has helped prepare children from birth through age 5 for success in school and life, supporting programs, resources and experiences that plant the seeds for a lifetime of opportunities.

“As a community-focused bank and one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, we’re proud to partner with United Way to support Yolo County’s young readers and their families,” said Megan Schoettmer, PNC regional president for Northern California. “At PNC, we know early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make for our children and our communities.”

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through PNC Grow Up Great®, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit

Founded in 1923, United Way California Capital Region has been a transformative force in the Sacramento community for more than a century, serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. The local United Way’s Square One approach to ending poverty is grounded in a public health model and uses a threefold strategy to address community needs from birth and beyond: helping kids excel in school, investing in families and strengthening schools. At United Way’s core is the philosophy that families possess the blueprint for their success. United Way supplies books to young children, provides literacy tutoring, addresses housing and food security, leads the region’s largest tax preparation initiative and launched Sacramento’s first guaranteed income program. United Way works across diverse school districts, providing case management for foster youth and leading the Community Schools initiative in West Sacramento. For more information or to make a donation, visit