Library museum project reveals fundraising campaign ideas. 

Kara-Leah Grant

Fundraising plans for the new library museum project were unveiled this week as work forges ahead to raise the half-million-dollars needed from the community to get the project out of the ground.

"We had concerns that the ambition of the $500,000 goal would lead to fundraising burnout and we are sensitive to the fact that in a community of 10,000 that represents $50 from every man, woman and child." said Gordon McKeever, co-chair of the local community fundraising committee at the monthly Chamber of Commerce lunch.

"It is our goal to craft a fundraising campaign that is either a burden, nor overly aggressive."

Of the $10 million dollars the building is expected to cost, only $500,000 is required to come directly from the local community. The rest of the cost will come mainly from a combination of the RMOW ($5 million), major gifts from both corporate and individuals ($1.25 million), foundations ($500,000) and leadership gifts ($2.5 million).

The fundraising plans include local residents programs, local groups programs, and local business programs.

"Our local residents’ program is event driven and we have established five local events so far," said McKeever.

"The focus of these events is to unobtrusively integrate fundraising into the social life of a wide variety of Whistler residents."

The local groups program deals with the various service groups and events run with a designated charity, such as golf tournaments.

"The focus here is to be an easy charity to work with and to maximize patronage opportunities," said McKeever.

The last component of the Local Community Fundraising Committee plan is also the most extensive.

The local business programs include a voluntary payroll deduction project, a souvenir bookmark project, and the local business gift bank project.

"We all know how often local businesses are asked for donations," said McKeever.

"It was our intention to design a program that took advantage of the resources of the local business community rather than their wallets."

The model and plans for the new library and museum and the fundraising tools were also presented at the monthly Chamber of Commerce lunch.

Anne Fenwick, chair of the Capital Campaign Steering Campaign, was on hand to explain the plans and the model to members.

"This building is long over due," she said.

"The library and museum moved into their current trailers in 1984 and were only supposed to be in there for three to five years.

"We are really excited about the building. It has been in the works for 10 years. Now we are looking for the community to come on board and support this initiative."

The new building includes an outdoor civic plaza, a civic hall, a gift shop, a multipurpose room, a reading room with a coffee bar and fireplace, an enclosed business centre, a children’s program room, and a research library.

The museum area will have indoor and outdoor exhibit space. The outside area could be used to display large items like gondolas or even snowcats.

"The programming we will be able to achieve with this building is exciting — more authors’ readings, slide shows and children’s programs," said Fenwick.

"We expect the building to be a tourist attraction. Quite a few tourists use the current facilities on rainy days and this will add to Whistler’s non-sports attractions."

Construction on the new building cannot begin until 80% of the funding for the project has been raised. The current library will remain open during construction but the museum will close.

"There will be satellite museum displays throughout Whistler during this time," said Fenwick.

The displays are designed to raise awareness of the new facilities and the fundraising campaign.

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