Smart Start can provide scholarships to families with children ages 0-5 who are enrolled in 4- or 5-star rated childcare facilities in Henderson County.

In order to qualify for a Smart Start Scholarship, the parent or responsible adult must provide proof of employment of at least 30 hours per week or proof of current enrollment as a full-time student.  This criteria applies to both parents if they are living together in the same home.

Income eligibility depends upon family size and is calculated based upon the gross pay listed on the 3 most recent paystubs from the parent or responsible adult's employer plus any other forms of income the family may receive, i.e., child support.

Family Size 

Monthly Income Limit















Appointments can be scheduled as funding allows to determine eligibility and issue Smart Start Scholarships.  At times, Smart Start maintains a waiting list of interested applicants.


For additional information, please contact:

Kelly Hart, Program Support Specialist

722 5th Avenue West

Hendersonville, NC 28739

(828) 693-1580

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For 20 years, Smart Start Partnership for Children has invested in the community though education, advocacy and providing a variety of services for young children and their families to help ensure a better, brighter future for our local community. Our 2018–2020 strategic plan positions us for continued impact towards creating successful children in Henderson County.

We are pleased to share this strategic plan for Smart Start Partnership for Children that will guide our work over the next several years. Please click on the Strategic Plan link below to view the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

How do I register my child for the Imagination Library?

There are two ways to register:

  • From the Smart Start website:
  • Contact our office to have a paper registration form mailed to you. Call 828-693-1580.

Why do you ask me to complete a survey when I register?

We use the survey to gather information to share with our funders so they can see the program impact and the importance of the Imagination Library in our community.

How much does it cost to sign up?

There is no cost to families for enrolled children, although donations are always welcomed.

Who pays for the book?

In Henderson County, the Imagination Library is entirely funded by our generous community, through business, organization, and individual donations and local and state grants. It only costs $30 to support a child for a year, and anyone can donate!

How do I donate to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?

It only costs $30 to support a child for a year. Donations can be made payable to Smart Start Partnership for Children (Memo: Imagination Library) and sent to:
Smart Start Partnership for Children
722 5th Avenue West
Hendersonville, NC 28739

You can also click here to donate to support this important work via an online contribution.

How can I change my address if my family moves?

If you move within Henderson County, you MUST change your address with Smart Start Partnership for Children in order for your child to continue receiving their books. These books cannot be forwarded, even with a Change of Address in place at the post office. To make this change, please contact our office as soon as possible. It takes 1-2 months for an address change to go into effect, so it’s important that we know about a move as soon as possible for your child’s book delivery to be uninterrupted.

What if I forgot to change my address?

Books will be returned to us at full postage cost or the post office will simply throw them away. This is why it is so important to change your address with us. If we do not hear from you, we will have to remove your child from the program. Every dollar spent on returned postage reduces the number of children we can serve.

If I move out of Henderson County, can I continue to receive books?

There may be an Imagination Library in the community where you are moving. When you call us to notify us of your change of address, we will look to see if there is a program in your new zip code. If it is available, we will help transfer your information.

Why did my child not get their book this month?

If your child did not receive their book this month, it could be for one of several reasons.

  • Some of the books have hard covers and may not fit into your mailbox. If this is the case, the post office might put a yellow package slip into your box and hold your book for you to pick up at the postal service desk.
  • If you have recently moved, it is important that you contact Smart Start to report your address change. The post office will not forward your books.
  • If you did not notify us of an address change, your child may have been unenrolled.
  • If you have recently submitted your registration, it takes 4-8 weeks from enrollment for your child to receive their first book.
  • If you have recently registered, your child may be placed on a waiting list.

Can more than one child in each family receive the books?

Yes! All children ages birth to age four in Henderson County are eligible to enroll.

I am pregnant; can I sign up my unborn baby?

Because we will need to know the exact birth date of your child (to ensure age-appropriate books), it is important to wait until after your child is born to enroll them in the program.

Are all the books the same for each child?

Children who are in the Imagination Library receive a different book each month they are enrolled. The books your child receives are intended to be age-appropriate for your child’s specific age. Each year there will be a new set of books chosen. So, for example, if your child was born in 2016, he or she will receive the same book in July as all the other children who were born in 2016. If you have multiple children who go through the program, there will likely be some duplicate books throughout the 5-year period they are enrolled, but you will also receive quite a few new ones for your family to enjoy.

Who selects the Imagination Library books?

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library Foundation has a Library Committee that consists of early literacy specialists who choose which books are provided each year. Smart Start Partnership for Children is not a part of this selection process.

Where can I donate books our family has outgrown?

We encourage you to donate children’s books for children of all ages to Smart Start Partnership for Children! We hold a used children’s book sale every February to raise funds to enroll more Henderson County children into the Imagination Library. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get event information; we would love to see you there!

 DPIL signup badge

For additional information, please contact:
Kelly Hart, Program Support Specialist
722 5th Avenue West
Hendersonville, NC 28739
Phone: (828) 693-1580
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


February 28, 2019

Smart Start Partnership for Children is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support, educate and advocate to build a strong foundation for young children in our community.  To that end we support programs that focus on early childhood education, health, and family engagement for families with children age birth thru five.

Smart Start Partnership for Children requests proposals yearly.  There is a three-step grant request and review process for the 2019-2020 funding cycle.

Letter of Intent:

The first step is submission of a 1-2-page Letter of Intent. It should briefly outline the following:

1)   Name of your organization and contact information
2)   Project Title
3)   Estimate of grant request amount
4)   Your organization's mission and work
5)   Statement of Need
6)   Scope of Work
7)   Overall goals and objectives

Request for Proposal:

The second step is the submission of a complete Request for Proposal. The RFP package will be provided to agencies upon review and acceptance of their letter of intent.

The Review Process:

Smart Start Partnership for Children Board Committees will review the RFP’s carefully to ensure the proposals fit our current priorities and resources. During this period the committee may request additional information or a face to face interview. Recommendations for funding will be submitted to the full Board of Directors on June 27, 2019 for final awards. Notifications will occur on Friday June 28, 2019.


February 28, 2019  -  Release Request for Letters of Intent

March 14, 2019  -  Letters of Intent Due (by 3:00 p.m.)

March 28, 2019  -  Request for Proposals released to approved LOI’s

April 30, 2019  -  Request for Proposals Due (by 3:00 p.m.)

May 13 - May 31, 2019  -  Board Committee Review

June 27, 2019  -  Board Meeting

June 28, 2019  -  Award Notification

All questions can be directed to Sonia Gironda, Executive Director at 828-693-1580 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For printable Letter of Intent Instructions, click here.

For a copy of the 2019-2020 Annual Plan with types of programs Smart Start has funded in the past, please click here.