The West Palm Beach Library Foundation (WPBLF) in West Palm Beach, Florida, received a $5 million grant from the Mandel Foundation on February 21. The West Palm Beach Library will be renamed the “Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach,” and representatives of the Mandel Foundation will serve on several committees of the WPBLF.
The gift will be distributed over four years, with $4 million going to the endowment of the WPBLF, whose mission is to help expand programs, enhance services and technology, and strengthen the library’s collections. The library has a $3.7 million operating budget.
Two of the Mandel Foundation’s three founders – Joseph and Morton Mandel – are full-time residents of Palm Beach, along with their spouses, children and grandchildren. Morton Mandel is chairman of the foundation, whose priority funding areas include leadership, management of nonprofits, higher education, Jewish education and continuity, and urban neighborhood renewal.
“We look for a place where we get a high return on our investment,” Morton Mandel told the Palm Beach Daily News. “We anticipate getting a high return on our investment with this gift.”
Morton and his wife, Barbara Mandel, had lived in the town for 50 years but never visited the library until then-mayor Lois Frankel told them the library foundation needed support, according to the Daily News. When the couple toured the library, “we were blown away,” Morton Mandel said. Among the programs that impressed them was a foundation-supported children’s literacy program using therapy dogs like those LJ reported on in early February.