The Athens-Limestone library raised enough money before the year was out to secure a $1 million grant to build a new library in Athens.
“We are very excited, very relieved and very appreciative that the community came together and won this,” Debbie Joyner, fundraising consultant, told The News Courier Wednesday.
Donors of every age and walk of life joined forces to make the effort successful, according to the library foundation. The youngest were city and county elementary school students who contributed $3,000 by buying turkey feathers to fill out a fundraising turkey’s tail.
Construction should begin in the next couple of months on the library’s new home in the old Kroger building on South Jefferson Street in Athens. Supporters say the current library, located at 405 E. South St. in Athens, is too small.
“We will work on the exterior first so that will be visible to the community,” Joyner said. “That will give a little facelift to that corridor.”
The interior of the Kroger building was gutted using volunteer labor, which “was a world of help,” Joyner said.
The Athens Limestone Library Foundation Board of Directors had to raise matching funds of about $540,000 from individuals, in-kind contributions, businesses and grants to win the remaining $750,000 of the $1 million Dekko Foundation Challenge Grant. However, Joyner said a family, which wants to remain anonymous, agreed to donate most of that. About $30,000 more was needed before the end of the year.
The Dekko Foundation first issued a $1 million challenge in July 2011 to encourage buy-in for the project by individuals and businesses in the community. Dekko offered a dollar-for-dollar match of $250,000 for contributions and pledges made between June 28, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011. Businesses and individuals in the community donated the money needed for the match and Dekko donated $250,000 to the campaign in January 2012.
“The second part of the Dekko Challenge was a little more daunting,” Joyner said. “But our community rose to the occasion,” raising about $540,000 needed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.
The library should receive the rest of its grant later this month.
“We will send them a report, and once Dekko verifies the totals and the accuracy of the information, we will receive the remainder of the grant,” Joyner said.
Still, the fundraising effort is not finished.
“We are still raising money to really finish out the project,” she said.
To donate, contact Alison Scroggins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Debbie Joyner at email@example.com for information regarding naming opportunities that are available.