Addison Township’s efforts to build a new public library received a significant funding boost last week.
Four County Community Foundation (4CCF), a nonprofit organization based in Almont, pledged to give $100,000 if certain conditions are met.
“We really couldn’t be more thrilled,” said James Baldiga, president of the library board of trustees. “We’ve been talking to (4CCF) for months . . . When I first reached out to their representative, they were enthusiastic . . . They’re really excited to be part of this.”
“Ecstatic, just ecstatic” is how Library Director Jaema Berman described her reaction to the sizeable gift.
“We feel that we’re being validated and the community is being recognized,” she said.
Library officials are working toward constructing a new 5,000-square-foot facility on a 3.8-acre site along Rochester Rd., between Cantley St. and Milmine Rd., in Lakeville.
Kathy Dickens, executive director of 4CCF, said the decision to pledge $100,000 was based on the Addison library’s good reputation, strong contributions to the community, effective outreach efforts and need for additional space.
“For all of those reasons, we thought this was a great investment,” said Dickens, who noted $100,000 is “one of the top gifts” that 4CCF has ever made.
“We’ve had so many residents of that area tell us what a great (impact) the library has had,” Dickens noted.
4CCF’s mission is to serve the corners of Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties. Since its establishment in 1987, the organization has awarded approximately $8 million in grants and scholarships.
The $100,000 gift from 4CCF is to be split between an initial donation of $50,000 and five annual contributions of $10,000. To get the money, two conditions must be met.
To receive the first $50,000, Addison library officials have to come within $50,000 of the $1.31 million needed to build the new facility.
“They won’t write us a check until we get within $50,000 of our goal,” Baldiga said.
Dickens said the idea is for 4CCF “to get (Addison) to the finish line.”
To reach their $1.31 million goal, officials plan to use $316,000 from the library’s fund balance (or reserves), borrow up to $650,000 from a financial institution and raise the rest through a capital campaign.
According to Baldiga, if the capital campaign generates funds beyond the $1.31 million goal, that extra money will enable the library to borrow less from the bank.
“We’ve got fund-raising efforts that are kicking off now that we hope will considerably reduce the amount of the loan,” he explained. “We (recently) got a check for $5,000 unsolicited.”
To receive the other $50,000 in the form of five annual gifts of $10,000, the library must take out a construction loan.
Baldiga said if “magic happens” and the library doesn’t need a loan, “we don’t get that extra $50,000.” He explained the “intent” of those annual gifts is “to soften the blow of mortgage payments.”
According to Berman, the capital campaign has raised approximately $10,000 thus far.
As part of the campaign, library officials are conducting a brick fund-raiser. They’re selling 400 bricks for $250 each. Purchasers will be able to have their bricks engraved with three lines of text. The bricks will then adorn four pillars near the entrance of the new library.
Baldiga hopes all of the bricks will sell because that would result in $100,000 for the project.
“For years and years,” Baldiga said the idea of building a new library from the ground up – something that’s never been done in Addison’s history – has been “a dream.” But now, “it feels like it’s coming together.”
Berman agreed. “It feels like we’re just on the edge of getting it done,” she said. “We just need that extra little push to make it real.”
Once completed, Baldiga said the new library “is going to be what people think of when they drive through Addison Township because it’s going to be the newest, brightest, biggest, shiniest thing.”
To learn more about the library project and fund-raising efforts, please visit www.letsbuildalibrary.org.
Dickens hopes the $100,000 gift will “open the door” to 4CCF forging “even more partnerships” in the Addison area.
Since 2013, 4CCF has awarded $29,567 in grants to the Addison Township Fire Department, according to Fire Chief Jerry Morawski. The money was used to purchase various pieces of equipment the department needed.
The organization also previously gave $8,000 to the Village of Leonard, which enabled it to have a new corrugated metal roof installed on the town’s historic mill in 2015.
To learn more about Four County Community Foundation, please visit www.4ccf.org.