Foundation says it’s on track to raise $2M pledged for Greenfield library

  • This design depicts the front of the new Greenfield Public Library. COURTESY IMAGE/JOHNSON ROBERTS ASSOCIATES

Staff Writer
Published: 9/27/2020 2:38:11 PM

GREENFIELD — As the city’s new library project moves forward, some wonder how close Greenfield Public Library Foundation is to raising the $2 million it promised to reduce the cost to taxpayers.

According to former Foundation President and current Secretary Kathy Cole, who has worked in giving/fundraising during her career, the group has raised about $1.4 million in signed pledges. She said she is “more than confident” the money will be raised by the time it is needed.

“You don’t just go out and raise $2 million like that,” she said. “Fundraising takes time. It’s taking us time, but people do want to give. Some are donations, some are pledges and others are bequests. A bequest is an intention to gift money to the foundation when someone dies.”

The state promised $9.4 million for the project, leaving the city to pay about $10.1 million. That’s when Greenfield Public Library Foundation said it would contribute $2 million to reduce the city’s cost to about $8.1 million.

Cole said just earlier this year the library finally presented the new library’s design, and typically it’s difficult to raise money before that happens. She said she expects fundraising will now pick up.

“We’ve been quietly getting pledges,” she said. “Once the building begins, we’ll start running a more public campaign. We’re very focused on that.”

She said the $1.4 million promised the foundation includes a $500,000 bequest from artist Hale Johnson. He has sought a way to acknowledge his wife Lorraine’s contribution to his career, as well as her volunteer work as a member of the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library since her death in 2016.

Johnson chose to honor her memory by confirming a bequest of $500,000 to the Greenfield Public Library Foundation that will support the construction of the new library. The foundation will receive that money when he passes.

Cole said the foundation only documents bequests from people 65 years old and older.

The vision of a new library has been discussed since at least 2012, and now the co-chair of the Greenfield Public Library’s Building Committee says it’s within reach, possibly opening as early as the end of 2022.

Co-Chair Ed Berlin said groundbreaking could take place before the start of 2021 if everything falls into place, but it needs to happen by April 22, 2021, unless the city requests a second extension from the state.

He said while he is not involved in the fundraising, he has confidence the foundation will raise what it has promised.

“I’ve talked to members and they are completely committed to raising the $2 million,” Berlin said. “I have no doubt that will happen.”

She said the foundation is committed to making sure the residents of Greenfield know it is reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

“We are very appreciative of everyone who has donated or pledged money for the new library,” Cole said.

She said to date, the foundation has received more than 300 gifts in the form of cash, checks and pledges, and those received have been deposited into bank accounts.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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