The Hind Foundation of San Luis Obispo is putting up a $140,000 challenge grant toward a new library facility in Cambria, Friends of the Cambria Library announced Tuesday.
That’s 10 percent of the nonprofit organization’s current fund drive goal of $1.4 million, and about half of what’s still needed to get there.
Overall, including credit for money it put up previously, the Friends group is putting up half of the project’s total cost of about $4 million.
“Isn’t this spectacular? This whole thing is like a miracle,” chief fundraiser Greg Fitzgerald said of the donation. “Over $1.2 million has been donated in a town of only 6,000 people. That has to be some kind of record.”
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The challenge grant is pledged with the stipulation that other community members match it. The Hind Foundation is imposing no deadline on the challenge grant, other than the Dec. 31 time limit set by the county for the community to meet its 50-50 share of the costs.
Once the community — including individuals, other nonprofit organizations, service groups, foundations, corporations and other donors — matches Hind’s $140,000, Friends will have met its goal and “be ready to put shovels into the ground,” according to group President Jeri Farrell. The Friends just met its 80 percent funding requirement to begin final design work, she said, another important milestone. The county purchased a newly built, unoccupied structure to house the new library, but it needs to be outfitted with all accouterments of a library.
The Cambria branch is one of the county’s most heavily used libraries per capita. It has survived for about three decades in increasingly cramped quarters with difficult parking accommodations.
The new site allows more than double the space of the existing library and is to provide more parking, a technology center and enlarged multifunctional areas for children, teens and adults.
Farrell was ebullient after San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, a passionate proponent of the project, told her about the Hind grant Tuesday.
Later that day, foundation founder Greg Hind said with a pleased chuckle that “one of our rewards is reactions like that.”
According to www.hindfoundation.org, the foundation’s purpose is “to fund community-based projects and programs that encourage people to work together to build an enduring legacy for future generations.”
“We do a lot of conservation and preservation,” Hind explained. “Libraries are being pushed aside a bit by today’s technology” and various media that make information instantly accessible.
“We want to make sure the library is preserved as the community’s central point and focus that brings people together and provides a place for a lot of programs and meetings” and (of course) the books themselves. You can get most everything electronically, he said, but libraries “as an important repository for books should remain.”
He added, “We want to see this thing done.”