Matching grant yields library more than $30,000 in donations

Apr 25, 2021

Thanks to a matching grant from cranberry grower A.D. Makepeace Company, the “Bridge the Gap” fundraising campaign for the Wareham Free Library is more than $30,000 closer to its $80,000 goal.

A.D. Makepeace Company had pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations to the library from mid-March until April 9 and made good on its promise on April 24, when representatives from the company presented the Wareham Library Foundation with a $10,000 check.

The matching grant resulted in a total of $33,000 in donations — $10,000 from A.D. Makepeace Company and $23,000 from the community, according to Jim Mendes, treasurer of the Wareham Library Foundation.

Liz Wiley, president of the Wareham Library Foundation, said the matching grant fundraising effort “exceeded expectations and was incredibly helpful.”

Linda Burke, vice president of marketing and communication for A.D. Makepeace Company, said the library is “kind of like the heart of the community in many ways.” She said A.D. Makepeace Company wanted to make a contribution but also “amplify the effect of it,” which is what led the company to extend the matching grant challenge to the community.

Jim Kane, president and CEO of A.D. Makepeace Company, echoed Burke’s sentiments.

“Instantly, we saw the need. We saw the effort underway to ‘Bridge the Gap,’” Kane said. “And we thought, better than just giving money, it’s always a better option to do challenge grant. [...] Any time you can leverage dollars, I think the organization gets that much more actual value and notice in the community.”

Kane also spoke of the importance of the library.

“Regardless of what you do for work or what you do in life, it all starts with literacy, the ability to read and the love of reading,” he said. “It’s something that we care deeply about, and we try to make our targeted efforts within the community persist in those objectives.”

Chris Makepeace, a member of the A.D. Makepeace Company’s board of directors, was also in attendance when the check was presented and said, “Congratulations to the library.”

The matching grant — timed so it ended on the Friday of National Library Week — was designed to help the library’s fundraising organizations raise the additional money needed to operate the library at the level residents are accustomed to. 

Wiley and Library Director George Ripley have both said that without the additional funding, the library could lose the certification that allows it to participate in the SAILS Network or be forced to limit its operating hours and reduce its staff. The SAILS Network, which the library currently participates in, is a program that enables libraries in Southeastern Massachusetts to share resources including books and other materials. 

Although the library is town-owned and operated, the town only provides 80 percent of the library’s operating budget. 

Every year, two fundraising organizations contribute the rest of the money to the library: the Wareham Library Foundation and the Friends of the Wareham Free Library.

The Foundation and Friends have until the end of the fiscal year on June 30 to raise the remaining 20 percent of the library’s operating budget, which is approximately $80,000. 

In total, Mendes said the “Bridge the Gap” campaign had raised about $54,000 so far — leaving about $26,000 left to go.

Wiley emphasized that a fully functioning library is a crucial resource in the community. She noted some members of the community rely on the library for access to computers, which are important for filling out job applications or requesting unemployment assistance.

The organizations’ fundraising efforts this year have been stymied by the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of several events like the Foundation’s annual play and dinner with an author.

Residents can donate using the “donate” button on the Foundation’s website at Alternatively, checks can be mailed to Wareham Library Foundation, P.O. Box 485, East Wareham, MA 02538.