Small-Town Libraries Encouraged to Apply for Kreutz Bennett Grants

Since 2012, more than $550,000 has been granted through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska. Thanks to this generous support, dozens of libraries have launched projects to repair, renovate, or replace existing facilities, create programs that enhance library services, and importantly, prepare libraries, boards and directors to become accredited, which opens the door to increased state funding. The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund is currently accepting grant applications. Grants will be made to libraries located in communities with a population under 3,000. The deadline to submit the initial short application form is October 1, 2020. Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants each year. All grants require a one-to-one match in local funding and evidence that the project has broad community support. There are three different areas of support available: Planning for Accreditation Grants The fund advisory committee encourages all eligible, unaccredited libraries to view the recently updated grant guidelines. A number of additional activities and expenses are now eligible for funding through a “Planning for Accreditation Grant.” Enhancement Grants Accredited libraries may apply for program support leading to the creation or improvement of library services and/or outreach. In-kind services or products may fulfill 50 percent of the local match requirement in this area. Facilities Grants Accredited libraries may request funding for new facilities or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries. Guidelines for this type of grant have been relaxed to allow libraries to apply for grants in multiple years for a total not to exceed $20,000. Libraries that previously received facility grants less than $20,000 are allowed to apply for additional funding in this grant area. There are approximately 100 eligible communities in Nebraska with non-accredited libraries. Libraries working toward accreditation may apply for grants over the course of multiple grant cycles. For instance, Walthill Public Library received two grants in two separate years to help with salary support for the director to spend additional hours working on the accreditation requirements. Once accredited, the library was eligible for larger grants from a variety of sources, including the state of Nebraska. Grant applications are simple to complete. A short-form proposal is due October 1, 2020, and a full proposal is due in January 2021. Grant seekers may review and download the guidelines and application procedures on the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund website. For more information, contact Kristine Gale, Nebraska Community Foundation Community Impact Coordinator, 402.822.0466 or
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