A $200,000 grant from Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) will help the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library renovate and modernize its facilities. 

From 2004 until the present, CFNEM has been the custodian of the Alpena County Library Fund. The library’s board of directors decided to establish a $5,000 endowed fund to ensure a steady stream of money. Since then, the fund has grown through individual donations and investment income. 

“The Community Foundation is very important to us. The investments the community foundation makes on our behalf are a big piece of income. Until now, we haven’t touched it. This is a once-in-a-generation project, so this was a good time to use those funds. I’ve worked with a lot of boards, and board members often have concerns about only having access to the interest of endowments. “he said. 

“Using agency funds at the community foundation is a good tool for meeting that concern. In addition to the agency fund, several donor endowment funds benefit the library. We can only use money that has been donated to us with the community foundation. We can’t transfer tax money to the foundation,” Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank said. 

“If this funding were not available, we would have faced many hard choices. We might have had to use nonlocal contractors. We probably would have had to reduce our services over the past year even more. We have tried to get the biggest bang out of each dollar spent on this project. Trying to cut $200,000 out of this project would have meant not getting nearly as much value for the public. It’s been an expensive year for us and this has been a great help.” 

CFNEM Executive Director Patrick Heraghty said: “Many northeast Michigan nonprofits have either started a fund like this in support of their mission, or a donor has established a fund for their benefit. This $200,000 grant is among some of the larger distributions taken from agency funds held at the Foundation. As donors support the fund, fundraisers are held, and investments growth occurs, the opportunity for impactful grants like these provide support long-term for whatever needs a nonprofit might have.” 

Heraghty noted that the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, Friends of Negwegon State Park, Presque Isle County Historical Museum Endowment Fund, Alcona Humane Society, Hillman Community Education Foundation, Besser Museum, and Art in the Loft are just a few of the local organizations with permanent endowment funds at CFNEM.  The library estimates it will be open to the public in mid-to-late October. 

Source: Alpena News