About the Foundation

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About Us


The Richland Public Library Foundation was incorporated in 2000 as a tax-exempt charitable non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation to seek private sector support for the Richland Public Library. Funds raised through the Foundation are used exclusively for the benefit of the Richland Public Library and are not part of the City of Richland budget. View the Foundation’s Bylaws.

A strong public library provides the foundation upon which a community can build for its future. It supports a wide spectrum of community life from the arts and business to economic development. While tax dollars can create a good library, your support beyond that which is available from the City of Richland, can make it great.

The Richland Public Library holds a unique place in the life of our city. No other institution bridges the cultural, ethnic, and economic differences among our people. No other institution offers, without charge, the opportunity to access such a wide range of educational resources, providing special programs and services for children, adults and seniors.

Board Members

Foundation Board members work to encourage contributions from local corporations and individuals through gifts to the Library and by sponsoring various fund-raising events.

2019-2020 Richland Public Library Foundation Officers and Board Members

Alan Rither   President 
Kristen Manke   Vice President
Harvey Gover
Tomiann Parker
Charles Elder   Member    
Carol Roberts
  Board Member Emeritus
Ron Kathren
  Board Member Emeritus

Steve Slate
   Friends of the Richland Public Library Liaison

Foundation History and Accomplishments

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The Richland Public Library Foundation was conceived in 1999 as an independent body to receive and manage the funds and property bequeathed to the Library by the late Shirley Stroh of Richland.

Early activities were largely devoted to organization, resolution of issues and receipt of the funds and other assets from the Stroh bequest, and development of basic promotional materials needed to publicize the foundation. The initial endowment of approximately $150,000 was carefully invested and has since grown, allowing the Foundation to support a number of projects for the Library, including the purchase of self-checkout stations, computers, and badly needed books for the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice Center.

In 2003, a group of Richland citizens began efforts to obtain funding to renovate and expand the existing library building, then more than three decades old. They formed the Bond With Your Library Committee which organized a successful campaign to pass a $17 million bond issue in May 2006, the largest in Richland’s history. The Foundation supported the bond issue with cash and the active participation of its board. The Library Building Committee included a member of the Foundation Board as a public member.

Large though the bond issue was, it did not fully provide for all of the amenities envisioned by many of the Library’s supporters, including a Richland History Room to provide a home for the small but important and growing Richland collection and related items as well as an associated reading room. The Foundation donated $75,000 to the City of Richland for the History Room and provided an additional $40,000 through public subscription. In July 2009, the more than 100 donors were treated to a gala pre-opening party at the newly renovated and expanded building. The Foundation has taken the lead in developing and obtaining materials to be housed in the Richland Room’s collection and is working in concert with the Friends of the Richland Public Library and the RPL Board to fund new projects identified by the Library.


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