BOWLING GREEN, KY. – Fruit of the Loom, Inc., hosted its 17th annual charity golf tournament Sept. 17th at Crosswinds Golf Course in Bowling Green, KY. More than 130 Fruit of the Loom, Inc., vendors and employees participated in the event, which raised more than $67,000 for United Way of Southern Kentucky’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program. The program puts books in the hands of local children to assist in fostering a love for reading and therefore better preparing children for Kindergarten. All children from newborn to age five are eligible to register into the program in the county in which it is offered. Once registered, each child will receive one age-appropriate book mailed directly to their home each month until the age of 5.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was initiated in east Tennessee in 1995 by Dolly Parton. Since its inception, over 80 million books have been distributed to children across four countries.  Recognizing the need to strengthen and support early literacy efforts and to ensure all young children get the best start possible, United Way of Southern Kentucky brought Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to Southern Kentucky in 2011. Support of the Imagination Library from generous contributions like those made by Fruit of the Loom help to ensure that children in our communities have access to books, thereby increasing their chance for future success. Thus far, more than 107,000 books have been mailed to nearly 6,000 children across Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, and Warren Counties.

The Imagination Library program increases the accessibility of age-appropriate books in all households. The first book mailed to each child is “The Little Engine That Could” and upon graduating the program, the month the child turns 5, they receive “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.”  When age-appropriate books are accessible in the home, children gain an appreciation for reading and are better prepared for kindergarten. The program is designed to build a stronger community by ensuring all children have access to the essential tools to build stronger literacy skills.  

The Imagination Library program also encourages early reading, which is essential for language and cognitive development in young children. Research shows access to age-appropriate reading materials in low-income households is severely insufficient.  According to national data, 75 percent of children who are reading below grade level in third grade will remain behind in high school. In addition, children from low-income families are three times more likely to have dropped out of school or be unemployed by the ages of 16-19 because of the educational barriers they encounter.  By giving children from all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to develop necessary early learning skills, they are getting a boost towards lifelong education success.

In the past two years combined, the Fruit of the Loom vendor and employee golf tournament has donated more than $123,000 to United Way of Southern Kentucky’s Imagination Library program allowing for the opportunity for more than 1,000 children across Southern Kentucky to be enrolled who are now receiving books in the mail to their homes once per month thanks to this generous contribution. This year’s tournament total raised of more than $67,000 makes it the most successful to date, bringing the three-year total donated to the program of more than $190,000.

“Fruit of the Loom is committed to supporting the communities in which our associates live and work,” said Rick Medlin, President and CEO, Fruit of the Loom, Inc. “The Imagination Library is one of many programs to improve educational opportunities for children in our community. We are proud to be associated with such a meaningful cause year over year.”

Support of programs like United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program is just one way that United Way is working to reach its Big Bold Goal in Education of increasing BRADD Kindergarten Readiness scores from 49.4% to 75% by the year 2020.

“More than 600 children under the age of five living in southern Kentucky will now receive one book by mail each a month - free of charge to the family - as a result of the generous contribution from the proceeds of this year’s Fruit of the Loom Golf Tournament to United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library,” said Debbie Hills, President & CEO of United Way of Southern Kentucky. “Fruit of the Loom’s commitment to supporting our local communities by improving childhood literacy has never been stronger, and many children will be impacted by this one event for years to come.”

For more information about United Way’s work in Education and how you can join the fight to give all children in Southern Kentucky the best start for a successful future, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at  

About United Way of Southern Kentucky

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives in our community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community.

About Fruit of the Loom, Inc.

Fruit of the Loom, Inc., is a global pioneer, specializing in the design, manufacture, and marketing of a number of iconic family apparel, athletic apparel, and sporting equipment brands including Vanity Fair®, Fruit of the Loom®, Spalding® and Russell Athletic®. Each and every one of our brands practices the relentless pursuit of better, by striving to create innovative apparel and equipment that fits well, feels great and helps make amazing things possible. Fruit of the Loom, Inc., actively seeks ways to be best-in-class in social and environmental responsibility in the communities it serves around the world. Fruit of the Loom, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. For more information, visit