Seven public libraries received a helping hand recently, thanks to the generosity of a lifelong educator, the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett of Lincoln. Each year the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), accepts proposals for matching grants for public libraries in communities with populations of fewer than 3,000.
Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants in three areas: planning grants leading to accreditation; enhancement grants to improve library services; and facilities grants for new construction or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries.
All grants require a certain level of matching funds and evidence that the project has broad community support. Approximately $70,000 is available each year. Grant seekers are encouraged to review the guidelines and application procedures at www.nebcommfound.org/fund/kreutzbennett.
For more information, contact Reggi Carlson, NCF Communications Director, (402) 323-7331or email@example.com.
The following libraries received grants in April 2013:
The City of Albion received $5,500 to extend the life of the existing library, a 1908 Carnegie building and addition. Funding will be used to repair the library’s foundation, cracked masonry, correct nearby surface drainage and replace elements of the electrical system.
Hildreth Friends of the Library was awarded $20,000 to help with a construction project that will double the size of the current library to 2,000 square feet and add an accessible public restroom. The additional space will allow for new acquisitions and physical space for digital technology equipment.
The Lincoln Township Library Foundation in Wausa has plans to build a new, entirely accessible facility that will be incorporated into the historic library. The $20,000 grant will bring the community very close to its $750,000 fundraising goal for this major construction project.
The Mitchell Public Library Foundation will use its $20,000 grant to help build an addition and renovate the current facility, which will nearly double the size of its library. The additional space will allow for a technology center and a new children’s area for activities and a summer reading program.
The Osmond Public Library will create digital historical files of The Osmond Republican newspaper from 1892 to the present and a Centennial Book from 1990 with its matching grant of $3,587. The searchable files will be stored on hard drives both on and off site, and will be accessible on the library’s computers and through the library’s website.
The Valley Public Library received $2,500 to participate in Nebraska Overdrive. This digital resource will allow patrons to borrow and download e-books and audio books over the Internet. The grant will also fund a series of computer classes for members of the community who would like to develop a greater degree of comfort with this technology and increase their skills.
The Walthill Public Library was awarded $2,500 to supplement an existing planning grant leading to accreditation and sustainability. Long-range goals include the possible relocation of the library into converted space across from the park.
An additional grant to the Ashland Public Library Foundation has been approved for disbursement at a later date.
There are 228 libraries in Nebraska communities with populations under 3,000, which makes them eligible for a grant from the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund. Of those, about 100 are not accredited by the Nebraska Library Commission.
“Gaining accreditation is critical to our libraries. It opens the door to other outside funding,” said Jeff Yost, NCF President and CEO. “In many small towns, the library may be the only place where some people have access to the Internet. Shirley’s legacy gift shows that she had great vision and commitment to people in our small communities. We are honored to help the family of Shirley Kreutz Bennett develop a strategy to share her passion for learning, especially in places where funding continues to shrink,” said Yost.
Last year, donor-advised funds contributed more than $3.36 million to charitable organizations through the Nebraska Community Foundation.
NCF is a statewide organization using charitable giving to build prosperous communities. NCF works with volunteer leaders serving more than 200 communities by providing training, strategic development, gift planning assistance and financial management for its affiliated funds located throughout the state. In the last five years more than 35,000 contributions have been made to NCF affiliated funds, and more than $97 million has been reinvested to benefit Nebraska communities. For more information visit www.NebraskaHometown.org.