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The Racine Public Library Foundation

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The Racine Public Library’s taxpayer support is just one branch of the funding sources the library relies on. The Racine Public Foundation is a nonprofit created to fundraise for the Racine Public Library, as well as to sustain the library and expand its work over time. Your support of the Foundation ensures we can keep the library available and free to everyone in Racine, for years to come.

About the Racine Public Library Foundation


What is the Racine Public Library Foundation?


The Racine Public Library Foundation — or “the Foundation” — is a tax-exempt, private, nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Its mission is to support the future wellbeing of the library. Through fundraising and careful fund management, it funds current and future library projects and guarantees the longevity of the library for years to come.



Why was the Foundation created?


The Racine Public Library, as an organization run by the government, needed outside support to be able to effectively raise and manage funds. The Foundation stepped in as a partner of the library to fill the gaps.

The Foundation’s Work


The Foundation supports the library by running campaigns and fundraisers for its benefits. Funds that don’t support immediate library projects are deposited in carefully managed trust accounts. When the library needs to request support for a project from the Foundation, the Foundation considers how the library’s request will support its community in alignment with its strategic plan, then grants access to funding for any approved projects. Through balancing the library’s current needs with its long-term financial stability, the Foundation is able to provide additional support for projects not covered by the library’s core budget as well as to maintain a healthy reserve that generates resources for the library over time.


The Foundation has a long-term vision of forming an endowment that generates enough income to support library projects and services. This endowment will ideally be supported by individual and corporate gifts and sponsorships, as well as bequests and other legacy gifts. To discuss the best way you can support the Foundation, just reach out — we’d be happy to talk.




How do the Foundation and its investors support the library?


Your investment will support ongoing initiatives, stabilize the library’s services over time, and lay the foundation for our future projects. The Foundation’s funds cover any programs and materials not fulfilled through the library’s core budget.


The impact the Foundation has created includes:

  • The Library GO! Techmobile
  • Our second-floor renovation: The Foundation funded the new staircase in the building’s main entrance, among other new spaces and equipment.
  • Battle of the Books: The Foundation was the beneficiary of a grant from SC Johnson that provided a set of books for all third- and fourth-grade classrooms in Racine Unified School District, as well as all private and parochial schools.
  • Author meet and greets: The Foundation hosts speaking sessions for local authors, such as the 2019 Breakfast with the Authors series or the Gift of Our Wounds event, which we held at the Golden Rondelle in partnership with SC Johnson.
  • Technology: The Foundation upgraded and expanded the library’s computer access for visitors, both by adding computer stations throughout the library building and funding Chromebooks and hotspots for community members to borrow. The Foundation has also supported the library’s purchase of 3D printers, laser engravers, virtual reality headsets, and STEAM kits for use in our Innovation Lab and STEAM classes.
  • Friends of the Racine Public Library: Every year, the Foundation donates a portion of its annual appeals to support programs and activities of the Friends of the Racine Public Library.

Supporter Levels

Thank you for supporting the library’s work. All contributions made during a single calendar year count towards your membership level and are tax deductible.

  • Benefactor: $5,000 or more
  • Conservator: $1,000 to $4,999.99
  • Collector: $500 to $999.99
  • Page Turner: $250 to $499.99
  • Reader: $249.99 or less

The Leadership Giving Circle


If your donation is at least $1,000 in a calendar year, your gift qualifies you for membership in our Leadership Giving Circle. Our 2023 leadership supporters are listed below — we thank you for your generous gift to support Racine’s literacy.


The 2023 Leadership Giving Circle


  • Thomas J and Marcia L Buhler Fund
  • Rafi & June Rafiullah
  • Anonymous


  • Rose Christensen
  • Bonnie Coons
  • Debby Eisel
  • Frey-Lukow Family Fund
  • Robert & Jill Hartmann
  • Mark Lukow
  • Robert Osborne and Vera Scekic
  • Mary Ellen Papara
  • Ms. Monica L. & Mr. Donald Putning
  • Tom Rutkowski and Natalie Chulew
  • John & Jennifer Voneiff

The Emily Lee Planned Giving Society


If you’ve included the Racine Public Library Foundation in your estate plans, your support qualifies you for membership in the Emily Lee Planned Giving Society. To have your support recognized here or start the conversation of making a planned gift, please email us at [email protected].

Racine Public Library Foundation Leadership

Several members of a library board of trustees work around a table with notebooks, laptops, drinks and binders.

The Foundation is run by its board of directors, which consists of the Racine Public Library’s executive director and another staff member, the library board of trustees president and another trustee, a member of the Friends of the Racine Public Library’s board, and at least four other directors appointed by the Foundation board.


The Foundation’s Board

Foundation Board President

  • Chris Hefel

Library Board of Trustees Appointees

  • Brian O’Connell, President of the Library Board
  • Alberto Huerta, Trustee of the Library Board

Friends of the Racine Public Library Board Appointee

  • Mollie Gamble, Vice President of the Friends

Racine Public Library Staff Appointees

  • Nick Demske, Interim Executive Director
  • Evelin Garcia, Business Manager

Members at Large

  • Jon Behrends
  • Robert Osborne
  • One member-at-large seats are currently vacant.

Joining the Foundation Board

Are you interested in volunteering your time in support of the Racine Public Library Foundation? To get started, reach out to the executive director.


Racine Public Library Foundation Board Meetings

Second Thursday of every month, 5 p.m.

Hybrid — In Person and Zoom

If interested in attending, please contact the executive director for the link and location.


The Foundation’s Bylaws

To learn more about how the foundation is governed, please refer to its bylaws.

Support the Racine Public Library Foundation


To talk with us about any of the options below — or to arrange for a different type of gift — reach out to us at (262) 636-9170 or [email protected].


Ways to Donate


The most common way to donate is to make a one-time or monthly donation to the Foundation.


Donate online: Make a one-time or monthly donation using your Paypal account or a debit or credit card. If you’d like to show a little extra support, please consider covering the fees so we can maximize our use of your gift.


Checks: Make checks payable to the Racine Public Library Foundation at 75 7th Street, Racine, WI 53403.


Tribute gifts: To make a donation in memory or honor of someone, just include their name in a note when you place your donation, and specify if your donation is a memorial or a gift on behalf of another person.


Donating books: If you want to donate books or other forms of media for the library to circulate or sell, please see the Racine Public Library’s donation page.




Major Gifts


We’re happy to work with you to facilitate a gift that will support your values for generations to come. Below are a few examples of the types of major gifts we can work with you to make. To get started on these or another type of gift, just reach out.



The Foundation manages a number of endowments to support the library’s general operations as well as special projects. We can work with you to support a current endowment or create one of your own to support the causes that matter to you.


Planned Giving

A planned gift to the Foundation is a great way to leave a legacy of supporting Racine’s literacy for generations to come. There’s a variety of ways we can work with you to make a planned gift, whether by designating the Foundation as a beneficiary in your will, retirement plan or another asset; facilitating trusts or annuities that can simultaneously support your family and our community; donating appreciated securities and more.


Stock, Bonds, Securities and Annuities


Personal Property

Your Support over Time


Thank you to all the previous members of our Leadership Giving Circle.


The 2022 Leadership Giving Circle

  • Benefactors
    Don Cress
  • Conservators
    Matt & Rita Andis
    Ms. Monica L. Putning
    John & Jennifer Voneiff
    Rose Christensen
    Mike & Debby Eisel
    Lois Lenske Covey
    Ms. Carolyn Lorenzini
    Charles McKinley
    Jim and Carla Wilks
    Robert J. and Mary A. Beck Family Fund
    Robert & Jill Hartmann
    David Beach
    Racine Founders Club Rotary Foundation
    The Friends of the Racine Public Library

Contact the Foundation


The Foundation’s Address
Racine Public Library Foundation
75 7th Street
Racine, WI 53403


(262) 636-9170


[email protected]

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