Mayor Walsh announced the launch of the Fund for the Boston Public Library, a new philanthropic endeavor created to support, sustain, and strengthen the Boston Public Library system across all 26 branches. At the event, Mayor Walsh announced a founding investment of investment of $2.8 million to build the Fund, generously provided by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, State Street Foundation, Inc. and more.
“Carved in stone on the Library’s façade, it says that the Boston Public Library was built by the people of Boston to improve the public good through knowledge and education,” said Mayor Walsh. “The Fund for the Boston Public Library will generate the resources needed to ensure that the entire library system operates at the highest level possible, meets the needs of every person and community in Boston, and remains free to all.”
Mayor Walsh also announced that Jeff Hawkins, Deputy Managing Partner of Bain Capital Credit and recently appointed as one of the newest Trustees of the Library, will serve as chair of the Fund’s newly formed board of directors and that Mary Flynn Myers, with 35 years of development experience in Greater Boston, including at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Campaign for Catholic Schools, will serve as the Fund’s executive director. In that capacity, Myers will also serve as a member of Library President David Leonard’s leadership team.
“With the great fortune of having one of the leading public libraries in the country also comes a great responsibility,” said Ronald P. O’Hanley, president and CEO of State Street and co-chair of the upcoming inaugural gala event for the Fund. “It is imperative that both the public and private sectors provide the resources needed to continue – and improve – the important educational, civic, and cultural services the Boston Public Library makes available to the people of Boston and the Commonwealth. The Fund for the Boston Public Library builds on the tradition established at the very founding of the Boston Public Library and creates the opportunity for all of us – the private sector, corporate and foundation support, and individuals alike – to contribute to the Boston Public Library’s mission.”
The City of Boston provides significant resources to the Library – including a $127 million investment from Mayor Walsh’s FY20-24 Capital Plan which includes funding for the construction of a new Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library, the renovation of the Roslindale branch, and programming studies for the West End and Codman Square branches. It also includes funding for the completion of the renovation of the Dudley branch and the programming study for a new Fields Corner branch, and a renovation project at the Central Library to enhance preservation of historic special collections of rare books and manuscripts.
Walsh noted that additional resources are needed to operate the Library at the highest level possible to benefit the public. To raise the needed resources, Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Library’s Board of Trustees have charged the Fund with focusing on four strategic areas:
• Programming and services that bring energy and excitement to all of the Library’s inspirational spaces;
• Innovative investments in technology and digital offerings to ensure the Library’s continued position as a national and international leader;
• Restoration of the historic McKim building to ensure greater access to, engagement with, and appreciation of both its architecture and the services and collections within;
• Care of, and increased and improved access to, the Library’s world-renowned special collections.
“As we look to bridge the equity gaps and digital divides that challenge our city, the Boston Public Library system – from its majestic McKim and dynamic Johnson buildings to its 25 branches throughout Boston – serves as an important part of our civic infrastructure, increasing equity in each community as it provides high-quality educational, social, and cultural enrichment for free to the public,” said Jeff Hawkins, the new Chair of the Fund, “The Fund will sustain and preserve for future generations the Library’s role as one of Boston’s major cultural and educational institutions.”
An inaugural fundraising gala event co-hosted by the Fund and the Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center will be held at the Library on June 7. At the gala, Mayor Walsh will receive the Bates Medal for his work and accomplishments in improving the public education of Boston’s schoolchildren and making Boston a more equitable city.
The Fund for the Boston Public Library serves as a successor to the Boston Library Foundation, which provided strategic and effective investments in the Library’s major efforts that significantly improved the Library’s ability to utilize its spaces, develop programing, and care for its special collections.