Lately, I’ve been bragging on Cambria around the Pacific Northwest. Community leaders have been telling me how much their residents love and support their community colleges, theater companies, children’s programs and summertime fundraising events. That’s when I get to set them straight on what REALLY loving and supporting your community is all about, Cambria-style.
I’m not sure most Cambrians truly understand and appreciate the power this community has when people latch onto a great idea. In just a couple short years, you have joined together to do what was once seen as impossible — create a new library in the toughest economic times in most of our memories.
When the folks I meet around the Northwest relate stories about their fundraising abilities, I am able to quickly set them on their heels simply by citing one salient fact: this community of 6,000 has raised $1.3 million primarily from individual and family gifts in fewer than three years. That’s simply stunning!
As a matter of fact, the depth and breadth of local Cambria support for this project was a deciding factor in the Hind Foundation’s recent $140,000 challenge grant. When Greg Hind came to visit the site and review the project, he spoke about the foundation’s desires to get behind efforts with this level of local backing.
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That shouldn’t be too surprising, though. Don’t we all want to back winners? And this project is truly a winner. The excitement this project has generated has inspired not just longtime residents, but newer folks, part-timers, and people who dream of some day retiring in this little piece of heaven. In fact, some of our largest gifts have come from recent arrivals and part-time residents.
Let me remind you how significant this accomplishment is. The new Cambria Library will be the first completely new public library construction project in San Luis Obispo County in more than 16 years. No community has come as close to fulfilling the county’s required local funding match as has Cambria.
That takes me back to the beginning of this article — the power of working together in common cause. While it is most definitely true that Cambrians have a variety of
opinions on many issues, it is also true that when a good idea gains traction, Cambrians come together and make things happen. When it wants to be, Cambria is the mouse that roars!
And now, after so many years of work, the Friends of the Cambria Library are in the final stretch of this terrific undertaking. We still need your help to make the last lap. When the Hind Foundation heard that we had only $280,000 left to raise, they stepped in with a challenge. “We’ll supply half the remaining goal,” they said, “if Cambrians will match us.” As always, Cambrians are responding to that challenge. Gifts have already started coming in.
Please continue your generosity, and take us over the top. What a celebration there will be when Cambria, little Cambria, becomes the first community in the county to make the dream of a fantastic new library come true. All through the power of people with a good idea.
Greg Fitzgerald’s column is special to The Cambria. The former Cambria resident and services district director is coordinating fundraising for the Friends of the Cambria Library. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Our New Library” appears monthly on the third Thursday. For more information, go to www.cambriafol.org.