By Bob Uphues
The Foundation for the Brookfield Library, a 510(c)3 nonprofit created in December 2017 in response to the defeat of a referendum to fund the construction of a new facility, is expected to roll out a formal capital campaign later this year to help fund an expansion of the existing library.
Formed with the support of the library board and the Friends of the Brookfield Public Library, the foundation is governed by a volunteer board of four people. JoAnn Day, a member of the Friends for about a decade, is president of the board.
Other members include J. Edgar Mihelic, who was involved with the political action committee supporting the referendum and who ran unsuccessfully for a spot on the board last year, is vice president.
Robert Akbarally, an officer with the Friends, is treasurer of the foundation. Also on the foundation board is Jane Huber, president of the Friends.
The referendum defeat did not dampen the library board's or Friends' hopes for expanding the building's footprint to increase capacity for patrons and programming.
"It did not kill the effort or idea to have this expanded place," Day said. "The enthusiasm is there."
In the next month, the foundation is expected to finalize a $5,000 consulting agreement with HUB Philanthropic Solutions, which will train and assist the foundation in launching a capital campaign to raise funds to help fund the library expansion.
The Friends of the Library is putting up the money to fund the consulting services. The first order of business, said Day, is settling on a start date for the relationship, which ought to come in the next month.
"In the next week or three we'll be working on establishing what we're going to be doing," Day said. "They will provide us with the skills in running a capital campaign."
Day said a capital campaign goal amount has not been decided on at this point.
Among the things HUB Philanthropic Solutions will help the foundation do is set the campaign goal, identify individuals who might be prepared to invest $5,000 or more, probe whether individuals or families might be willing to consider multi-year pledges and identify investments necessary to realize a capital campaign goal.
The consultant would also train library leaders on how to talk about the campaign to potential investors, work with the library to leverage its Taste of Brookfield event as a launching pad for the campaign and meet regularly with the library leaders to track the campaign's progress and assess priorities.
Back in February, the library board chose Product Architecture and Design, as the firm to expand and comprehensively remodel the existing library at 3609 Grand Blvd.
In seeking architectural proposals from firms for the work, the library board asked for plans that would cost in the area of $6 million. In recent years, the library board has been able to save a little more than $5 million, which it has set aside in a special building fund.
It's unclear whether the library board's plans are more ambitious than a $6 million project, given the creation of a foundation about to launch a major fundraising effort.
The library board will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the expansion and renovation project. Representatives from Product Architecture will attend the meeting.