Porter-Leath and GBBF Host Early Literacy Briefing to Engage Community & Candidates

Porter-Leath and Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) hosted an Early Literacy Breakfast Briefing on October 2 to highlight the Imagination Library and other early childhood programs to engage elective office candidates and community members. Held at Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Academy, the event educated legislative office candidates in Southwest Tennessee Districts on Porter Leath’s programs to advance early literacy, highlighting Books from Birth and Tennessee’s Imagination Library to engage and garner community support. GBBF Vice President Dean Hoskins and Porter-Leath Development Director Rob Hughes gave a joint presentation on the dynamic public-private partnership of Tennessee’s Imagination Library, highlighting the program’s local efforts and statewide impact on early literacy. Following the presentation, guests were given a tour of Porter-Leath’s state-of-the-art Early Childhood Academy.

There were over 30 attendees, including representatives from Bill Lee’s gubernatorial campaign, three TN General Assembly candidates in Southwest TN Districts and Shelby County/Porter-Leath committee and advisory council members.

A Dynamic, Public-Private Partnership


Shelby County Books from Birth, the largest of 1,500 Dolly Parton Imagination Library affiliates, merged with Porter-Leath in 2017. The program provides monthly, age-appropriate books for children from birth to age five at no cost to families.  Books from Birth enhances Porter-Leath’s full range of early childhood programs — including Cornerstone, Preschool, and Generations— to support children’s developmental growth. In partnership with Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), Shelby County Books from Birth mails 46,933 books to birth to age five children each month. The program cost is split 50/50 between GBBF and Shelby County Books from Birth.

“Through GBBF, the State of Tennessee has supported Tennessee’s Imagination Library since 2004, acknowledging the program’s impact on early literacy and workforce development in the state,” said Dean Hoskins, GBBF Vice President. “Programs like Books from Birth promote early literacy not only through delivery of books to a child’s home, but by working with families to encourage reading with children daily from birth. We are honored to partner with Porter-Leath/Shelby County Books from Birth and the other early literacy efforts that work together on behalf of children in the community.”

Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Academy, a state-of-the-art preschool and teacher training institute, is located at 628 Alice Ave. Porter-Leath provides over 6,200 disadvantaged infants and toddlers with high quality early childhood education at no cost, while also supporting their development through nutritious meals, health screenings, disability services, and mental health services.

“Porter-Leath’s programs are proven to support all aspects of early childhood development,” said Sean Lee, President of Porter-Leath. “We are excited to educate our community’s change makers about our plans to transform Memphis’ early childhood landscape.”

At the event, International Paper presented Porter-Leath with a check for $200,000. A portion of the gift will help buy the Imagination Library books mailed to enrolled children in Shelby County.

Click here to check out a local news story about the event from WMC5 about the event.