The Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation is $150,000 closer to reaching its 2012 fundraising goal, thanks to a grant from the Steelcase Foundation.

Library Director Paula Laurita said the grant request was made three months ago and the library received half the requested amount. She said, however, the amount was more than anticipated.

“In the grant world, the rule of thumb is about a 10 percent return on grant applications,” she said. “When you get half of that large of a request, that’s really great.”

Grant writer and foundation board member Marshia Hewitt received notification Tuesday from Phyllis Gebbin of the Steelcase Foundation that the board had approved the request. The grant will be paid over three years.

The money will count toward the library foundation’s challenge grant approved last year by the Indiana-based Dekko Foundation. Dekko committed $1 million toward the campaign if the library foundation could raise $250,000 by the end of 2011 and $750,000 by the end of this year.

A total of $505,533 has been raised since the challenge grant was issued in July 2011. The library foundation also received a $50,000 grant from the Birmingham-based Daniel Foundation that can be applied to the 2012 goal.

Laurita said the grants from Steelcase, Dekko and Daniel foundations help underscore the importance of the library’s efforts to renovate the old Kroger building on South Jefferson Street and illustrate the viability to the project.

“When these foundations evaluate us, they go through a rigorous process,” she said. “No one would commit that amount of money if they did not consider this to be a viable project.”

She said going through the grant writing and evaluation process also helps members of the foundation reassess the importance of the library project.

“We don’t want to be in the project for the sake of the project, we want to be in it for the community,” Laurita said. “It helps us focus on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

She said while efforts to raise money locally will continue, the Steelcase grant will make things substantially easier in terms of fundraising. The foundation has made other grant requests, but Laurita said it’s too early to tell when or if those would be awarded.

“Each grant we receive, it makes it easier for us to get grants from other organizations,” she said. “Everybody wants to be part of a winning team.”

for more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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