Rendition of new library

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

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.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Message from the Outside World

The Bellingham Herald has published an article about our fundraising work for the library here in Point Roberts.  Nice to hear from the outer world.

My plan today was to bring to the Friends of the Library's attention to the fact that we have only 4 remaining days for the Matching Holiday Fund.  Most of it has been matched by 18 Good Friends members, but there is yet $3,000 that will either be matched to get us a total of $6,000, or will go away into the void that is unmatched funds.  A truly dismal outcome, that.  So, it's the end of the year and you'll get an IRS deduction.  And you will be getting a new library pretty soon.  And you will feel all warm and fuzzy in your generosity.  And you certainly will have all the thanks available from the FOPRL fundraising people!

Checks to FOPRL, to the library on Tuesday when it's open; to the mail, otherwise: FOPRL, PO Box 970, P.R., 98281.  Happy New Year.  Tomorrow, I'll write about Foundations and their ways.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mid-Season Catch-Up

I guess the season is the holiday one of Thanksgivings (Canadian and U.S.) and then the standard Christmas with all the other winter holidays clustered around it.  All those holidays of equal importance, of course, to those to whom they are important.

And then, the Library Fundraising business.  As you may know from Ed Park's letter to the editor in the November All Point Bulletin, we have--due to his decision to give his unexpected class action suit gains to the library fundraising--an $11,600 matching fund that runs to the end of the year, or until it runs out.  (If we don't match it, we have to give the unmatched remainder to Ed and he will have to go on a cruise or something.  Full disclosure: Ed is my husband, but his class action suit check is all his, or at least it's his until it is all the new library fund's.)

In these first three weeks of November, our fund has benefitted from $6,000 in gifts that will be matched.  Leaving us with another $5,600 yet to match.  So if you were thinking of making a holiday/year end contribution to the new library fund, this would be an excellent time.  You won't be surprised to hear that I think any time is an excellent time, but in this particular time, the matching fund makes it even more excellent.

The Christmas Craft Faire will have a table that Heidi Baxter and I will moderate with many objects whose sale proceeds will all be donated to the library.  Those sales will also be eligible for the matching fund.  The Craft Faire is December 6-7, this year, at the Community Center, of course.

Other news of the new library is that the Community Design Committee met with architect David King to work out some issues in library design.  Next, King will meet with Christine Perkins and Library Staff People to discuss their needs.  Judith Wolfman, who chairs that committee is happy to hear from anyone who has suggestions about library design ( and about what you'd like to see in your new library.  In the meantime, there are concrete (literally, in some cases) aspects of the renovation in process (completing a site survey, getting the current septic system assessed and documented, and getting a foundation profile determined).   It's pretty exciting to think that we are on the way to drawing up final plans.

Finally, there are the foundation proposals.  We have three of them out at present, and we could hear back at any time in the next three months from them.  They are for a total of $97,000.  So we will need to be sending out some more proposals when a few other foundations' submission dates arise.

And our totals now: $377,000.  Our goal: $538,000.  The Difference: $161,000.

At the Craft Faire: Library Folks Dolls with book bags and books.

A convention of Library Folks Dolls: 24 of them will be in attendance at the Christmas Craft Faire.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

End of Summer Progress Report

Every three or four months, we produce a progress report on fundraising.  And here's the current one for your information.  I want especially to thank Heidi Baxter, Tor Baxter, Margot Griffiths, Ed Park, Rose Momsen, and Steve Martindale for all their help this summer.  They are great supporters of the community that is Point Roberts and I am grateful to them every day for their ready response to need.  And thanks also to all the community visitors and members who have contributed in any way to the new library fundraising.

When we began this fundraising project, we allowed as to how it might take five years to get it done.  We're not yet at the end of 3 years, and we are about 70% of the way there, but we're not all the way there yet.  Keep us in mind as the year comes to an end, particularly with respect to tax deductible gifts. We still have a $40,000 match fund for anyone/any business/any family that is willing to donate $10,000.  We have had seven such donations so far from families, individuals, and businesses.  There's room yet for four more.

Friends of the Point Roberts Library Fundraising (New Library) Report, September 25, 2014

  1. The current total funds raised is $365,000 of a needed $538,000.
  2.   Although our primary focus this year is on foundation grants, we have also conducted an active summer program through the weekly Community Market, and various events (Annual Arts and Music Festival, Quilt Show, Community Yard Sale, book sales).  
  3. Foundation Grants:
 A.  We were about to submit our first foundation proposal in early March when we were informed by the IRS that our 501c3 status (approved in December 2013) had been revoked.  That turned out to be the result of an IRS error, but the IRS was unable to fully reverse the revoked status until June.  Thus, during that almost 3-month period, we were unable to submit any grant proposals.

B.  In June, we submitted two letters of inquiry (Umpqua Bank Community Giving and the Murdoch Foundation) and a full proposal (Norcliffe Foundation).  We were turned down by the Murdoch Foundation (because they do not fund public libraries).  Umpqua will donate $1,000 (it does not contribute to capital projects); Norcliffe responded with a $25,000 grant.
  1. We have submitted a proposal to the Garneau Nicon Foundation for their fall cycle of grant requests and a letter of inquiry to the Archibald Foundation. 
D.  We will submit proposals to two additional national foundations at such time as we meet their requirements for having “value-engineered drawings” or a construction contract, and to one other foundation with a January 2015 deadline.
  1. Planning Process.
  1. We have been working with the Whatcom County Library System and the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District to provide greater clarity to the original Memo of Understanding.  Three main issues of clarification include WCLS’s interest in being involved in building inspections and design plans; FOPRL’s interest in having an end-game strategy should there be a funding shortfall; and Park and Recreation’s interest in having clear lines of responsibility for building design and construction.
  2. The Park and Recreation Commission has named an architect to begin design work and has supported the creation of a Community Design Committee to work with the architect with regard to exterior design considerations.
  3. We continue to make good progress in fundraising and planning for a new library in Point Roberts and are confident that we will meet our goal.  We certainly appreciate all the help you have given us so far.

--Judy Ross, for the Friends of the Point Roberts Library