Oshkosh Public Library establishes Funds for Library Excellence - October 24 2014

The Oshkosh Public Library's ongoing pursuit of excellence takes a significant leap forward with the transfer $3 million in trust fund assets to the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. The exciting new partnership brings with it the potential for growth and raises the library's profile as a beneficiary for donors in the community.

This reorganization of dozens of existing charitable funds brings into clearer focus the positive impact that donors can have in supporting library services in the Oshkosh community. The newly established Trust Funds for Library Excellence include five charitable endowments that support:
  • Collections (books, movies and music)
  • Facility and equipment improvements
  • Cultural and educational programming
  • Technology
  • General library development

  • Learn more about each fund and donate online

    Over the years charitable gifts have been used to launch children's literacy initiatives, establish outstanding genealogy services, set up new collections of best-seller books, establish and build services for teens and publish digital collections of photos and community information that preserve Oshkosh history. Donations are invested and the earnings are used to enhance resources and services.

    The library and the Foundation are two trusted organizations that share a vision for strengthening the Oshkosh community, according to Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, Director of the Oshkosh Public Library. "The promise in this partnership lies in linking two organizations that are recognized for their integrity and stewardship of the community's public and private resources," he says. "It's a strong partnership that will benefit the Oshkosh community for years to come."

    Diane Abraham, President and CEO of the Foundation, believes the Trust Funds for Library Excellence will appeal to donors who value literacy, lifelong learning and the strong sense of community that the library offers. "Our goal is to match donors with funds that reflect their interests, their values, their passion," she explains. "Donating to the public library is one more way to invest in a strong and vital community in a lasting way."

    Oshkosh Public Library has a long tradition of private philanthropic support. A gift from Abby
    Harris, wife of prominent Oshkosh lumberman Marshall Harris, led to the construction of the library, which opened on its present site in 1900. Alberta Kimball, co-founder of the Miles Kimball Co., provided a gift that seeded a major expansion and renovation of the library in the 1990s.

    A recent gift of nearly $186,000 will be added to the library's Collection Improvement Fund at the Foundation, in accordance with the donor's wish that earnings be used to purchase large print books. Large print books are used heavily by individuals as well as in the library's Home Delivery Service. "This generous gift means that older readers and others with vision issues can continue to enjoy the books that enrich their lives," says Gilderson-Duwe. "We hear all the time how important that is."

    Gilderson-Duwe says that donors can be assured that their legacies will continue to strengthen the library and raise it to a level of excellence not possible through public funding alone. "Many of our past donors have specified that their gifts would build upon the city's investment in the library, not replace it," he explains. "The Oshkosh Public Library Board has diligently followed those wishes, using donated funds as 'frosting on the cake,' as one donor put it."

    While past donors have included prominent members of the Oshkosh community, Gilderson-Duwe points out that the library has also benefited from the generosity of average citizens who valued the mission and principles of the public library. "They were people who lived and worked in this community, who valued hard work, family, faith and community," Gilderson-Duwe explains.

    The Oshkosh Public Library offers a wide selection of books, movies and music; Wi-Fi and high-speed public Internet computers; extensive resources and specialized services for local history and genealogy research; and educational and cultural programs for all ages. More than 400,000 people visit the library annually and check out more than 1 million items. For more information call 236-5205.

    The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.

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