Alpena – The Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library recently received a $200,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) to help with its current renovation and upgrade project.
CFNEM has held the Alpena County Library Fund since 2004. At that time, the Library’s board of directors decided to establish an endowed fund with $5,000 to provide a permanent source of income. Over the years the Fund has grown through individual donations and investment income, providing lasting support for the Library’s needs. As an Agency Fund of CFNEM, the Library can use it as needed for any projects and library programming at its board’s discretion.
According to Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank, “The Community Foundation is very important to us. The investments the community foundation makes on our behalf is a big piece of income. Until now we haven’t touched it. This is a once in a generation project and so this was a good time to use those funds. I’ve worked with a lot of boards, and board members often have concerns about only having access to the interest of endowments. Using agency funds at the community foundation is a good tool for meeting that concern. In addition to the agency fund, there are number of donor endowment funds that benefit the library. We can only use money that has been donated to us with the community foundation. We can’t transfer tax money to the foundation.”
“If this funding was not available, we would have faced many hard choices. We might have had to use nonlocal contractors. We probably would have had to reduce our services over the past year even more. We have tried to get the biggest bang out of each dollar spent on this project. Trying to cut $200,000 out of this project would have meant not getting nearly as much value for the public. It’s been an expensive year for us and this has been a great help.”
“Many northeast Michigan nonprofits have either started a fund like this in support of their mission, or a donor has established a fund for their benefit. This $200,000 grant is among some of the larger distributions taken from agency funds held at the Foundation,” says CFNEM Executive Director Patrick Heraghty. “As donors support the fund, fundraisers are held, and investments growth occurs, the opportunity for impactful grants like these provide support long-term for whatever needs a nonprofit might have.”
Heraghty added that just a few of the local organizations with permanent endowment funds at CFNEM include the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, Friends of Negwegon State Park, Presque Isle County Historical Museum Endowment Fund, Alcona Humane Society, Hillman Community Education Foundation, Besser Museum and Art in the Loft.
The Library estimates it will be open to the public in mid-to-late October.
The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan is a charitable organization committed to providing people who care about the future of our area with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come. Led by a volunteer board of local citizens, the foundation oversees a group of permanent endowment funds from a wide range of donors. Gifts of all sizes from individuals, families, businesses and agencies are invested in a balanced, well-managed portfolio to build endowments, enabling support for local community nonprofits now and forever. To donate or learn more about how community foundations work, visit cfnem.org or call 989-354-6881; toll-free: 877-354-6881.