With the generous support of the Jack Buncher Foundation, “Love Your Library” Campaign Raises More Than $800,000 for Local Libraries
The Allegheny County Library Association and Carnegie Library Pittsburgh announced today that its third annual “Love Your Library” county-wide matching gift campaign raised $660,615 in eligible funds during the month of September, an increase of more than $30,000 from last year. The Jack Buncher Foundation provided $150,000 in matching funds totaling $817,876.24 for libraries in our area. Every library in Allegheny County will receive at least $1,000 from the matching pool to support their general operations.
Donations and matching funds will be used to fund essential library services, improve facilities and offer educational programs for children and adults. Many libraries used the “Love Your Library” campaign to kick off year-end giving, the time when many nonprofits receive the largest number of their donations.
“Since its inception, Allegheny County’s ‘Love Your Library’ campaign has raised more than $2.2 million for local libraries, an incredible testament to how much Allegheny County residents love their libraries,” said Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. “By supporting this important initiative library donors are making a real difference in our community, helping our libraries to provide life-changing programs that spark learning, creativity and exploration.”
The campaign, which encouraged residents to donate to their local libraries during the month of September, inspired 5,713 donors to give—with 1,217 (21%) identified as new library donors. Twenty one county libraries saw an increase in giving over the same month giving period from last year.
“I am sincerely heartened by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Love Your Library campaign for 2018,” said Bernita Buncher, Chair of the Jack Buncher Foundation. “It is particularly satisfying to see that with each year’s campaign the number of contributors grows. To me this is a real indication of just how important libraries are in the neighborhoods.”
With 73 locations, Allegheny County libraries have a single card library card system, provide free access to materials through a shared catalog, jointly offer downloadable books, audios, and videos as well as online databases, and support a diverse calendar of programs. A unified electronic network expands the resources of local libraries by supporting the automated library operations, Internet access, and free Wi-Fi services available at all county libraries.
“The overwhelming success of the ‘Love Your Library’ campaign speaks directly to the value of library service in our communities,” said Marilyn Jenkins, Executive Director, Allegheny County Library Association. “While our libraries benefit from the on-going support of the Regional Asset District and local governments, the added generosity of individuals is so gratifying. Special thanks to the Buncher Foundation for being a champion of libraries and providing matching funds. This kind of countywide collaborative effort demonstrates why it’s so easy to Love Your Library!”
Although libraries traditionally have received public funds to support basic operations, state funding for libraries has been reduced or remained flat for much of the past decade. Local funding for libraries in Allegheny County varies greatly from one municipality to another. Libraries reported that the “Love Your Library” campaign continues to reinforce the importance of library services in our community and the need for support. For some libraries, this was a major step towards a new or improved fundraising effort. Many libraries have increased their efforts to raise funds from individuals, corporations and foundations, relying more on such philanthropic support to fund essential library services, improve facilities and offer new programs.