Philanthropic lending – Library stocks nonprofit resources

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Glenwood branch of the Greensboro Public Library has become one of the leading resources in North Carolina for materials about nonprofits and philanthropy.

Launched nearly four years ago, the library’s Nonprofit Resource Center now houses roughly 2,400 items, including books, periodicals, video and audio tapes and CD-ROM compilations of funding resources.

About 75 people a week visit the center, which has its own Web site.

The library also coordinates classes in the Triad for the certificate program in nonprofit management at Duke University in Durham. That program offers about 50 classes a year in the region for about 600 people working and volunteering for nonprofits.

Steve Sumerford, the library’s assistant director, created the Nonprofit Resource Center after concluding that the library could better serve the community by expanding its programs to serve nonprofits, which it already depended on for its programs.

The Bryan Family Fund, which recently announced it was dissolving itself, helped kickstart the center by donating its resource library for nonprofits, and by making a $10,000 grant for expansion of the materials in that collection.

Materials in the center focus on topics such as foundation and corporate giving, as well as board development, management, marketing and personnel.

In addition, the library has created a Neighborhood Information Center and a literacy program known as Community of Readers.

Funded with $5,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, the neighborhood center provides information designed to help neighborhood organizers improve their communities, and to help nonprofits learning about community-building issues.

The literacy program, funded with grants of $189,000 and $250,000 over the past four years from the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, aims to better integrate and coordinate more than two dozen local  groups involved in literacy programs.

Based on a recent literacy summit, the program aims to refocus existing initiatives and funding to better deliver literacy services at the neighborhood level for children and families.

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