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My Turn, Dale Basinger, Phil Barton: Rowan Public library can turn endowments into knowledge

By Dale Basinger and Phil Barton

An endowment to the Rowan Public Library Foundation was established in December of 1997 by Allan and Mary Rouzer.

Susan Waller said of her parents:  “I don’t remember a time when my parents didn’t have a stack of books around them. Twice weekly trips to the library were standard and they truly believed that the library offered something for every person in the area. Their contributions to the foundation served to keep that belief alive.”

Susan also has an endowment of her own, which was a “thank you” for years of entertainment, information and education at her all-time favorite place: the library.

So, when and how did the Rowan Public Library Foundation come into existence?

Beginning in 1991, the trustees and Friends of the Library initiated the establishment of an endowment fund dedicated to the long-term advancement of Rowan Public Library. The fund is managed by an independent Board of Directors comprised of citizens from throughout Rowan County.

The foundation’s first major goal is the creation of a permanent endowment to support the development of the library’s collection of materials.

A portion of the income from this growing endowment is used to strengthen the library’s  collection of materials in a variety of formats. About $40,000 went to support such an effort this past year. In addition, funding can also be used for other purposes, such as supporting the new West Rowan Branch Library with a gift of $200,000. Only the interest is used from our investments, leaving the principal untouched.

In December of 2008, Gavine Pitner, a longtime library supporter, along with her sons established an endowment in memory of her son, Stuart.

A librarian at a liberal arts college in Kentucky, Stuart died in 2003.  Gavine and her two other sons decided that it would be appropriate to start an endowment here in his memory since Stuart enjoyed being part of an institution that housed so much information and provided help to so many people.

Gavine says, “I’ve continued my support of the endowment in his memory because I, too, like being part of the information system and believe in giving locally.”

An endowment can be established for $1,000 or more and can be paid over a period of time. Such a gift would enrich the Rowan Public Library for generations.  Presently, the endowment fund includes gifts ranging from $1,000 to $200,000.

Each year, in perpetuity, a book, or other library material may be acquired in the name of a friend or a loved one designated by the donor.  The donor may determine the subject area, type of library material and the library location of the gift.

The foundation is a tax-exempt public 501 (c)(3) and all contributions are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. All endowments are recognized by a name plate on each acquisition, and acknowledged on a plaque at the library headquarters.

The most recent endowment is the Frank Grady Hall, III Endowment, established on June 10. That brings our total number of endowments to 181.

If you would like to establish a new endowment or add to an existing endowment, please contact Pam Nance by telephone at 704 216-8231 or by email at:  pam.nance@rowancounty.gov

You could help our library and RPL Foundation grow in support of the joy of reading and lifelong learning.

Dale Basinger is president of the Rowan Public Library Foundation. Phil Barton is former executive director of the library and secretary of the foundation.

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