ALA reports fund raising progress for Cultural Communities Fund

Contact: Deb Robertson

Director, PPO


For Immediate Release

August 1, 2005

ALA reports fund raising progress for Cultural Communities Fund

Deadline to raise $300,000 for NEH Challenge Grant extended to September 15

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is still working to raise a total of $300,000 to support the Cultural Communities Fund (CCF), in order to qualify for $100,000 in matching grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The July 31, 2005 fund raising deadline was recently extended to September 15 by the NEH. A total of $229,000 remains to be raised by this deadline, or approximately $75,000 in matching funds will be lost to ALA.

The Cultural Communities Fund was established in spring 2003, in order to address the growing demand for public and cultural programming support in America's libraries. CCF is the first endowment ever created to support public, academic, school and special libraries in developing and hosting a variety of programs, including historical and art exhibits, book and film discussion groups, author events and more. The funds from the CCF endowment will provide annual training opportunities for librarians, model programs, and programming grants for libraries.

The NEH immediately recognized the merit of the endowment, and awarded a $350,000 Challenge Grant to CCF, providing a 1 to 3 match on donations made through July 2007. To date, $218,000 has been raised for CCF, including $148,000 that is eligible to be matched by NEH.

“ALA must succeed in establishing this national foundation of support for public programming,” said Deborah L. Jacobs, Director of The Seattle Public Library and Chair of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC). “These programs do so much to raise the visibility of libraries and reach new audiences who become advocates for strong, well funded libraries. They benefit young and old, students, teachers, authors and others who turn to their libraries as places to learn, experience, share ideas and grow. If you believe that libraries are essential to the cultural life in our communities, we need your help.”

Organizations and individuals can help ALA meet its 2005 goal by making a contribution online at or by contacting Deb Robertson, director of the ALA Public Programs Office, at (312) 280-5057 or Donors will receive special recognition at ALA conferences, on the ALA Web site, and in press releases. Visit the CCF Web site ( for details.

Among the more than 275 individuals and organizations that have contributed to the fund are Benefactors ($50,000 or more): the Public Library Association, NEH and The Wallace Foundation; Sponsors ($10,000 to $24,000): Barnes & Noble and Nextbook; Founders ($5,000 to $9,999): Deborah and Peter Robertson and Christine Watkins; and Donors ($1,000 to $4,999): ALA Campaign for America's Libraries, Barbara Macikas and Howard Blumstein, Susan Brandehoff, Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Nancy Davenport, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Friends of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., Deborah L. Jacobs, Sarah Ann Long, Lord & Taylor, Shirley Murray, National Library of Medicine, George M. Needham, Newberry Library, Lucie P. Osborn, Susan Richards and Rex Meyers, and Peggy Sullivan.

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office, which administers the Cultural Communities Fund, is to foster cultural programming as an integral part of library service. Since its establishment, PPO has provided more than $10 million in programming support to over 8,000 libraries.