Bentonville, AR...The Bentonville Library Foundation (BLF) announced at its Annual Donor Appreciation Lunch on Sunday, February 26 that the Walmart Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to BLF’s Library expansion campaign.
A Walmart Foundation representative shared the news with guests. “The Bentonville Public Library provides countless resources to the community that are well beyond books on the shelves,” said Angela Oxford, senior manager NWA Region for Walmart.org. “The Library provides spaces for innovation and community gatherings as well as summer nutrition programs – all things that align with our purpose to help people live better.”
To honor this significant contribution, Bentonville Public Library’s (BPL) new community room and expanded veranda will be named the Walmart Foundation Community Room and Public Veranda.
Library Foundation President Howard Kerr acknowledged the generous grant. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation. Support for the Library, as a public institution, is especially important in a growing community where people of all backgrounds are relocating for job advancement, educational pursuits, family opportunities and recreational options.”
The Walmart Foundation grant brings the total amount of funds committed for BPL’s expansion to $15.3 million. The contribution will join the City of Bentonville’s bond money of $4.5 million toward the $16.75 million project. Combined public and private funding comprise 91% of the amount needed to-date. The Library Foundation continues to seek additional investments and naming gifts to help close the funding gap.
Library Director Hadi Dudley stated, “This grant is the tipping point that allows us to put shovels in the ground. We now have enough money to begin construction. Our Foundation will continue fundraising to support the project, but this is a significant milestone for our Library.” Dudley also shared that Bentonville Public Library’s groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 at 1PM. More details will be announced, and the public is invited to attend the groundbreaking event.
Sponsored by Flintco, LLC, the Donor Appreciation Lunch was a private program held at the Library for loyal Foundation supporters. During the event, the Bentonville History Museum (BHM) spearheaded a special presentation entitled Honoring our Past, Celebrating our Community that featured panelists Fred Coffee, Seth Lankford and Leah Whitehead. Rebekah Lopez, BHM Executive Director, and Mayor Stephanie Orman also attended and participated in the program. Members of Altrusa International of Bentonville/Bella Vista AR, Inc. assisted with hospitality.
Previous campaign announcements from the Library Foundation recognized a $5.5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation and $500,000 from the Alice L. Walton Foundation. Many other individuals, families, corporations and organizations have contributed to the capital campaign.
Photograph by Kate Austin Photography
Left to Right: Mayor Stephanie Orman, City of Bentonville; Hadi Dudley, Bentonville Public Library Director; Angela Oxford, Senior Manager NWA Region, Walmart Foundation; Teresa Stafford, Bentonville Library Foundation Executive Director; Howard Kerr, Bentonville Library Foundation Board President
Library Concepts by MSR Design
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. To learn more, visit http://www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.
About the Bentonville Public Library
Bentonville Public Library is a department of the City of Bentonville. Its mission is to engage our community, encourage discovery and promote literacy by offering lifelong learning opportunities. The Library’s expansion will add 22,975 SF to the building; the project also includes renovation to existing spaces, as well as enhancements to outdoor areas. Learn more at bentonvillelibrary.org and bentonvillebond.com.
About the Bentonville Library Foundation
The Bentonville Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Its mission is to engage our community in order to provide necessary and sustainable support for the Bentonville Public Library. Learn more about the library foundation and how it supports BPL at bentonvillelibraryfoundation.org.