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My First Book
Reading in Tent
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Books for Little Ones

We started our “Books 4 Little 1s” Fundraising Campaign in October, which is National Book Month. Our goal is to raise $32,641, which is the same number as that of a key zip code that our program serves. This will build on our recent successes in enrolling 1,000 kids and increase our current enrollment of over 10% in each of the five zip codes served.

The Need

While data has been missing during the COVID pandemic, the recently reported 2021-2022 scores for schools in these area codes are weaker and still lag behind other areas of Alachua County, the state, and the nation. The impact of COVID and the transition back is especially hard on these families and will likely further widen the gap.

  • Elementary schools in the 32641 zip code received scores of F, D, and C on their Florida Department of Education school grade report, which dropped a letter grade from 2019 for two of the three schools.

  • A recently provided statistic noted that 8 out of 10 African-American children in Alachua County schools are not reading at grade level.

  • In some of the elementary schools in under-performing areas, less than one in three 3rd-graders have basic reading skills. 

The Need

What We've Done So Far

Gainesville Thrives’ foundation was built on a vision for bringing together the faith community to serve people in our neighborhoods. Collaboration is key to building awareness of-- and providing easy accessibility to-- the Dolly Parton Imagination Library books. It is goal of Gainesville Thrives to build a foundation for literacy by giving young children and their parents books that they can enjoy together.

Since starting in Spring of 2021, we have expanded the program from one to five zip codes in the areas of Gainesville that have the lowest 3rd-grade reading scores. We are rapidly increasing the involvement of area families through partnerships with local churches, libraries, and community organizations.

1,000+ Enrollments

As of September 2022, over 1,000 children in our community are receiving an age-appropriate book every month by mail. More than 6,000 books have been mailed so far!

100% Recommended

In a survey of 121 parents/caretakers of enrolled children, 78% now read more often with their child, and 100% would recommend the program to a friend!

100% Free to the Child

Through generous donations from local organizations, foundations, and people like you, every child registered receives their books for free. Thank you!

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What We've Done So Far
How to Help

How to Help

Our goal is to build up the foundation of Gainesville Thrives to allow it to not only sustain the current participation levels but to double them in the next year and continue to expand into future years to meet or exceed the national average of eventual Imagination Library enrollment of 60% (at 10% per year) in all underperforming areas of Gainesville. Ultimately, we want to see the impact reflected in improved reading scores and other positive neighborhood health outcomes.

In just the last year, the diligent work of volunteers and the generous gifts of those in our community have allowed Gainesville Thrives to provide books to over 1,000 children age 0 to 4 years old, which is over 10% of those living in the areas we serve.

Support our community by giving families books that bring joy and help children succeed in their future schooling.


Help bring the joy of reading and learning for (4) the little ones (1s) in East Gainesville (32641 and surrounding zip codes) by raising $32,641.

The cost of providing a child with a book every month for a year is $27.

 A gift of any amount can be given online, or sent via check to

Gainesville Thrives, PO Box 15312, Gainesville, FL 32604.


Volunteers of all kinds are welcome! Visit our Serve with Us page.

UF Students: Join our Student Volunteer Org! Reach out to


Share this page with friends, family, and neighbors in our community.

You can change the story for a child.

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