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First Book receives anonymous $20k donation

First Book receives anonymous $20k donation

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Sheila Diaz, left, with First Book McLean County, accepts an anonymous check from Illinois Prairie Community Foundation President Tim Leighton for $20,000 to purchase books for McLean County children.

BLOOMINGTON — An anonymous donor has provided a running start to a fundraising campaign that will put books in the hands of more McLean County children.

The nonprofit group First Book McLean County provides grants to Title 1 schools and summer literacy programs to fund the purchase of books.

During an annual fundraising event last week, the First Book group was presented with a $20,000 check through Illinois Prairie Community Foundation from an anonymous donor.

“We’re very excited about this. It will help us with the $35,000 in grant requests we’ve received so far to help kids this year,” said Sheila Diaz, board member of First Book.

Accompanying the large donation was a letter.

“These are difficult times for our schools and families, so your efforts are all the more needed and appreciated,” wrote the donor. “My anonymity helps to keep the focus where it belongs: on literacy and those working tirelessly to promote it.”

Since 2002, First Book McLean County has raised $632,593, distributed more than 121,500 books to local children and partnered with more than 25 recipient groups, including Boys & Girls Club Bloomington-Normal, Heartland Head Start and The Baby Fold.

“When a kid has a book they can put under their bed or on their bookshelf, they grow to love books. We hope to plant seeds for new readers,” said Diaz.

To learn more or to donate to First Book McLean County, visit the McLean County team page at

Contact Julia Evelsizer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_evelsizer


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