February 17, 2018

Providence PL Creates Foundation to Keep Funding Info Private

By LJ Staff

The Providence Public Library (PPL) has found a neat solution to its dilemma of keeping its donor information private while also providing certain data to the public in accordance with state law. Following a closed meeting August 24, PPL announced that it had created a separate, private foundation, which will handle library fundraising. Mayor David Cicilline and state Senator Rhoda Perry (D-Providence), who led the charge to have PPL abide by the state’s Open Meeting Law, who both attended the meeting, later said they were satisfied by PPL’s maneuver: ‘Almost all of the urban libraries on the East Coast have a foundation,’ Perry told the Providence Journal. PPL executives insisted that they can both follow the Open Meetings Law when dealing with public money and retain their donors’ privacy via the foundation. Roughly $2.2 million of the library’s $7.7 million budget comes from private donors. PPL director Dale Thomson told the publication that ‘personnel, staffing, library policies,’ and all other issues concerning the use of public funding will be discussed openly. While the library board had been considering a separate foundation for more than a year, the new open meeting law accelerated the process.