The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 23, 2012

Library fund drive needs $30,000 by Dec. 31

By Jean Cole

ATHENS — The clock is ticking on the drive to raise $1 million in order to secure a $750,000 grant for the new Athens-Limestone County library.

Those raising money say they are just $30,000 shy of the goal but they only have about five weeks to raise it.

Fundraising consultant Debbie Joyner said Wednesday the Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation needs to raise approximately $30,000 more before the end of 2012 in order to earn the remaining $750,000 of the Dekko Foundation Challenge Grant. 

The foundation had needed about $540,000 from individuals, in-kind contributions, businesses and grants to win the Dekko match. However, Joyner said a family, which wants to remain anonymous, has agreed to donate most of that.

“We have a substantial gift that counts toward the challenge but we haven’t gotten the paperwork on that yet,” Joyner said. “They have confirmed it different times in different ways. So, I can report to the foundation board that it is coming but we are just working on the paperwork.”

The rest of the money needed to get the grant will have to be raised through various fundraising efforts planned for the rest of the year and through individual donations from residents and other patrons of the library.

If the foundation raises the approximately $30,000, Joyner said the Dekko Foundation will give the project the $750,000 in January 2013. The same foundation has already given the project $250,000 to match fundraising of $250,000.

Students helping

Students at city and county schools have been busy raising money for the new library.

The TRAIL group delivered turkeys and feathers to every kindergarten-through-first-grade classroom in the city and county and asked students to buy a feather for 50 cents that could be stuck in the turkey’s tail, said TRAIL Navigator Gayle Black. Turkeys and feathers were also placed in each of the school libraries so students from higher grades could contribute to the project, she said. The school that raises the most money will receive a party on Nov. 30.

Residents can help, too

Residents and library patrons can help the fundraising effort three ways — by donating at the library, buying a $75 ticket to a Dec. 7 festive dinner or making an individual or group contribution of $5,000 or more, which will be recognized on a donor wall at the new library.

Prospective donors may go to the current library, located at 405 E. South St. in Athens, and contribute cash, a check or through a donation of appreciated stock, Joyner said. Or, they may donate by credit card by going online to the library’s website at


Melissa and Tony Ward of Athens will open their home, “Athena,” for a holiday tour that will benefit the project. Included in the $75 ticket price is food, drinks, live music and other amenities.

“It will be an entertaining start to the holiday season, and something that will help a good cause,” Joyner said. “Anyone who wants to purchase a ticket to the party is welcome to.”

Although some previous donors have already received invitations, there are plenty of tickets remaining. You can buy a ticket at the library or on the library’s website.

The city’s share

The city of Athens, which has already donated more than $1.1 million, will not be asked for another one-time contribution. The city leadership, however, has been asked to give more on a yearly basis to cover operating costs.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said, to his knowledge, the city of Athens has not been asked to donate further to the library effort. However, he said various agencies, including the library, have made their annual funding requests, which the council will likely consider on Dec. 10. While the library and other agencies are asking for more annual operating funds, they will likely not receive it.

“Things will probably be level funded, but it is up to them (the City Council),” Marks said. “But through my conversations with the City Council, they are looking at level funding. That’s where the majority of the City Council members are.”