Friday, we kicked off our annual fundraiser at Union and raised $800 in cash alone at (what I initially thought to be) the very silly rubberband shoot out game that John, Kate, Chris and Arman spearheaded building with a massive team of volunteer painters. Kids seemed obvious but I had no idea that adults would be lining up, beers in hand, to donate and play! We'll find out next week what the beer proceeds from Union were *fingers crossed* -- but there were a LOT of people there!! Even the Member Made Showcase was a hit - celebrating the amazing successes of our members with home repair/renovation projects, furniture building projects, several of our members have even started small businesses over the last 4 years with library tools.
I sat back and watched for a moment, all of our friends, long time members, supporters, suuuuper long time volunteers - I noted the friendships that had been forged because of the library, the way that some of our members and volunteers stood a little taller, a little happier since the first time they came in, I watched the ease with which everyone slid right into our community and felt safe, happy, at home.
Those feelings don't arise so easily these days -- amidst the hustle bustle, political unrest, commitments, responsibilities.. But the library has always been a safe place, and a very positive place at that -- filled with possibilities, not barriers -- it is something worth fighting for, and it has been a fight for 5 years to keep it open and to make it awesome.
Each year we have to raise $25,000 to stay open because it costs money to keep our prices within reach of the majority populace of Baltimore and to keep inspiring, talented, hard working people to run this place from the front of the house to the back. We charge what Baltimore can bear -- and that accounts for 75% of our operating costs. Not too shabby for a 4 year old nonprofit started by a bunch of artists! 14% of our budget is funded by grants (when we can get them) to cover capital expenses like tools or renovations, or programming expenses. However, the remaining 11% needs to come from the people out there in the world that believe in what we are doing - that it's a necessary resource for everyone - and that it IS changing the face of our city. $25K is about the cost of a car - to some it's a lot, to others not so much - either way, each year it's the difference between us remaining open or having to close.
If you have supported us in the past - we want to be sure that we grow into an organization that you want to continue to support each year, because you know I'm gonna keep asking! We would be incredibly grateful if you were able to give today, $100 now or $25 each month until the end of the year would go an incredibly long way to ensuring that the library remains a safe and happy place for everyone. Just follow this link!!
But I also wanted to plant a seed because, taking it one step further, how could you leverage that $$$ even more? Could you inspire 4 other friends that would want to make a tax-deductible donation of $100? So that your group's donation of $500 we could use as another "matching gift" to inspire our small dollar donors throughout the campaign? Or perhaps make a collection at work so that we could use a larger "group" donation for that same kind of leverage? Or maybe your company would match employee contributions??? If any of that sounds do-able, I'd love to hear back from you! And if you'd like to give to today in any amount, nothing is too small because remember it will be doubled!!! Please follow this link!!
Thank you for being there -- because of you the library is home to a lot of folks, a place where they feel like they belong, and where they can accomplish just about anything they damn well aspire towards!!
With an abundance of gratitude,
The Tool Librarians