Rendition of new library

Rendition of new library
The New Point Roberts Library Out of the Old Julius Firehall

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Regarding the Recent All Point Bulletin Article on the Park and Rec Board Meeting

Meg Olson’s article on the recent two meetings of the Park and Recreation Board is a good report of what went on. [( ] However, it may leave an impression that the new library project is in some kind of trouble.  It is not.  As of July 31, 2015, FOPRL has raised $465,000, $20,000 in the last 2 weeks alone.  We need to raise another $73,000 and expect to do so by the end of the year.

Last October, a new Memo of Understanding/MOU was negotiated among FOPRL, the Park and Recreation District, and the Whatcom County Library System.  In it, the Park and Recreation District made a legal commitment to try to close any funding gap to ensure that the new library is completed.

FOPRL will continue to raise funds. When we have $538,000 or see no possibility for further funds being raised, the ball is in the Park and Recreation District’s court: they can either bring the building in with the money that has been raised or they can try to raise additional funds. 

FOPRL continues fully to accept its responsibility to try to complete the fundraising goal of $538,000.  Support for this project is very broad with well over a thousand donors.  We thank every person, group, business, foundation and agency that has contributed their time, money, or goods to this project and we hope you will continue to help get this library built.

Judy Ross, Fundraising Chair

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up, Half-Year Report, 2015

The APB says you all have donor fatigue.  I hope that is not the case because we need more donations.  Take your time, a little bit, anyway.

At present, we are up to $444,000, which includes $1,000 or so from the current quilt show at The Blue Heron.  The exhibit will go on until the end of July, and perhaps there will be more for the library at that point; if we sell any, there will be.  The current estimation of our total need is $538,000, so we're short by a tad less than $100,000.  It is doable, one way or another, with the wind at our backs and the support of the community, which we surely have had.

We have two significant donation requests still out.  You will be informed about their outcome as soon as they have one.  And then we will be working on Plan C if it is necessary.  Which we hope it won't be.

Thanks for all your support in the past.  It is a pleasure to work with people who really care about libraries and who demonstrate that caring through time and money, both.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Library Benefit Concert, This Friday

Michael returns to perform in Point Roberts after a highly acclaimed concert here in October of 2013.  Those who heard him then will welcome his return; those who missed his previous concert are in for a real treat.  Friday, this week -- don't miss it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

End of 2014/Beginning of 2015 Status Report

We end the year with $405,000, an increase during the 4th quarter almost entirely due to a matching fund which grew to cover about $15,000 contributed during the last two months.  In addition, there were sales from the Library’s Christmas Craft Faire table (all proceeds, about $1,500 from donated goods, went to the New Library Project), as well as several individual donations in November.

This year, we also received a total 0f $32,000 in grants from two foundations (Norcliffe and Archibald).  The Garneau-Nicon Foundation and the Murdoch Foundation (both Washington State Foundations) did not think that our project fit within their guidelines and were thus unable to provide any support.  We have one other grant proposal still out for consideration by the McEachern Foundation.  Their staff has recently requested additional information about the extent of childrens’ services provided by our library, which is a promising sign.  Finally, and unfortunately, we were unable to find any state funds available this past year for library funding.

Other significant achievements during the year:
--The Memo of Understanding between the Friends of the P.R. Library, the Park and Recreation District, and Whatcom County Library Services was revised and now includes a commitment by the P&R District to put a levy on the ballot if it is needed for final funding at such time as the FOPRL concludes there is no further possibility of its closing the final gap.
--The P&R District named David King as architect for the new building and he began working with a design committee composed of local residents, and with Whatcom County Library Services staff to determine the final shape of building plans.
--The Bellingham Herald recognized our project in“Whatcom Cares” by naming our fundraisers as one of ten people/groups who had provided exceptional service to the communities of Whatcom County.  


We continue to look for possible foundation grants, although this is becoming increasingly unlikely because of the severe cutbacks on capital project funding in the foundation world.  We spoke with several managers in the state Commerce Dept. about the possibility of applying for state capital grants and were told that nothing there was available.  They reported that the only possibility they could see was a “directed request” from our state legislators.  We are hoping that State Senator Doug Ericksen will be willing to make a directed grant request for state funds for us.  We have contacted his office, asking for a meeting about his, but have not, as of January 24, heard back from him.  And we are planning to conduct a final letter-request campaign to local residents and businesses who have not yet contributed to this project.  Every dollar counts as we move into this final phase.  We still have a $40,000 matching fund for any business, individual, or family who contributes at least $10,000.

We thank everyone who has contributed time, energy, donated goods, and money, support of every kind, to this project.  For a tiny community like Point Roberts to have a new library will make an important change in how we think of ourselves: we are a community that can make good things happen.  And we will have a lovely bright new library building to remind us of that fact for a long time to come.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

About Foundation Grants

And now it's 2015.  Maybe a good time for me to write a little background and foreground on foundation grants for the new library.  The status of our foundation requests is this: we have requested funds from five foundations; two have given us a total of $32,000, two have turned us down, and one has yet to be heard from as to its decision.  We have three more foundations that we will request money from in the next month or so, depending upon the foundations' expectations about when they will entertain requests.  This may leave you with some questions.

The most obvious one, probably, is why have we submitted so few proposals when there are so many, many foundations?  Short answer: That is very few foundations entertain requests for capital funding (ie, requests that involve buying, building, or renovating actual structures).  Very few.  We identified only 7 at the beginning of this year, and an 8th one that is a little dicey.  There are a number of reasons why foundations shy away from capital requests.  First, they are prone to thinking that buildings are likely to be associated with governmental structures.  Thus, one of the foundations that turned us down, specifically said, 'we don't fund public libraries.'  Their understandable belief is that if you are a governmental institution, you have the ability to raise money through taxation so you don't need foundation money.

Second, they are reluctant even if you are NOT a government entity (as we are not, even if the building we are remodeling belongs to such an entity) because capital funds require a lot of money in order for something actually to happen.  There's no point in their giving you $100,000 if you're looking to raise a half million or (usually) a good deal more unless there's some reason to believe you actually will raise the rest of the money.  You'd want to see some kind of track record, but for folks like us, there's no track record.  And if the applicant doesn't get all the money raised, it's not going to build 1/5 of a building as a fallback position.  So, most foundations just  don't get involved at all, or reduce their risk by entertaining requests only when you have most of the money on hand and guarantee a start date or have already paid for final construction plans.  One of the foundations we will go to in 2015 wants 'value-engineered drawings or the equivalent.'  We're not at that point yet, although we should be by this spring.

Third, many foundations have very specific areas of interest that don't include libraries.  They may be dedicated to projects that ensure better conservation practices or research, e.g., or medical care opportunities.  One of the foundations that turned us down thought that a renovated library wasn't close enough to its mission to help the poor.  We applied because we thought that a new library would fit the foundation's priorities: 1/4 of families in P.R. (2010 Census Data) have incomes below $25,000 (corrected number).  But the additional fact is that Point Roberts/Whatcom County also has a median household income that is somewhat higher than the county average in the state.  [The federal government has a rural economic development program that funds capital projects, but only in counties that are below the median income level.]

Fourth, the financial crash and its low-interest effect left lots of foundations with much smaller amounts of money to disperse.  As a result, even big places like the Allan Foundation and the Gates Foundation which, 5 years ago, supported capital projects in the Northwest, no longer do.  They support smaller, discrete program-like projects: helping people get health insurance, improving childhood literacy, preserving local history, etc.  Many of these programs could appropriately be conducted in the building we are renovating because it would have additional space, but giving priority to program funding instead of capital funding means that the foundations can't help build the buildings that the programs need in order to happen.

That is a brief explanation for why there are fewer opportunities for grants than we would like.  If you know of a foundation that will fund capital projects (and it's not the Norcliffe, Murdoch, Garneau-Nicon, McEachern, Archibald, Weinberg, or Kresge Foundation), send us a link to its site and we'll follow up.  Currently, we are in need of an additional $138,000.

And now, I'll start writing another request for funds.  Thanks for reading, thanks for helping us along on this common journey.  We didn't get to having $400,000 because Point Roberts residents and visitors didn't care enough to contribute.  And to those who haven't yet contributed and can, please join us as members of this community: it's everybody's library.