Riley & Matt Alley were raised by families that give back to our community whether it is with time, treasure or talents. So it’s no surprise they devote their personal and professional lives to making their community a better place.
“We value what the Community Foundation does for our area and the variety of programs we can choose to support. Giving to the foundation allows our gifts to be pooled with others to make bigger impacts on our community,” said Riley Alley.
After graduation from CMU, Riley started her career in Early Childhood in Midland County. Shortly thereafter, as a family they decided to move back home. Today, Riley is the Great Start Collaborative Director at St. Clair County RESA.
Riley started her career with RESA in 2011. She was familiar with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program and knew she wanted to have it available for children in our community.
“With the help of Dr. Sushma Reddy, the United Way, staff and private donors, St. Clair County RESA’s Imagination Library was created in 2012,” she said.
There are currently more than 4,600 children in St. Clair County between the ages of 0-5 receiving one book per month and nearly 6,800 have graduated (turned 5) since launching the program in 2012.
Just starting the Imagination Library here was not enough for Riley – she wanted to ensure the sustainability of the program.
“The program needed sustainable funding and an endowment fund seemed like a good fit. With help from Community Foundation’s Big Give and a grant from State Farm, we started the St. Clair County RESA Imagination Library Fund in 2018,” Riley said.
The fund has grown to over $32,000 and provides donors with an opportunity to invest in the long-term success and growth of the local Imagination Library program.
Riley and St. Clair County RESA’s Great Start program have also partnered with our Women’s Initiative to help ensure that all children have the opportunity for at least one year of high quality preschool prior to entering a kindergarten program in St. Clair County. The Women’s Initiative has provided $90,000 over the last three years in support of the program.
Access to quality education is important to the Alleys. In addition to Riley’s work at RESA, Matt works for the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
Recently, Matt, Riley and their families were actively involved in the Imagination Station Rebuild. The project involved over 1,000 volunteers in a weeklong rebuild of the play structure at Greig Park in St. Clair.
They live in St. Clair with their four children, Auden, 9; Laken, 7; Reddick, 5; and Sutter, 3.
“Matt and I were lucky enough to move home after our first child was born so that we could raise our children near both sets of grandparents.”