11/04/09 — Andy's Foundation makes large donation to Steele Memorial Library

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Andy's Foundation makes large donation to Steele Memorial Library

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 4, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Andy's Charitable Foundation announced Monday a three-year $30,000 pledge toward the town's Steele Memorial Library project.

"It is a significant contribution to the eventual success of our project," said Jane Rustin, director of the Wayne County Public Library. "It is enormous. It is great evidence of the commitment on the part of Andy's to support of the community and to create a new library for the area.

"A gift of this magnitude implies that this project will be successful. I am hopeful that others in the community will follow Andy's lead and lend their support to it."

Mrs. Rustin said she had been aware that the funding was being sought so she was not surprised that Andy's had made a donation, but she admitted the size of it did shock her.

The donation by the Andy's Foundation follows on the heels of ones by the foundations of Southern Bank and Mt. Olive Pickle Co.

"It shows how important the library is to the community," she said. "Clearly this project has a lot of community appeal. I think that we are on track and this gift has kept us there."

The county has purchased the 23,000-square-foot former Belk's building on West Main Street to house what is being billed as a regional library to serve all of southern Wayne County. The project is expected to cost $3.5 million and the library steering committee hopes to raise $350,000 through a grassroots fundraising campaign.

The new library will be a full-service branch just like Goldsboro, meaning the hours at the Mount Olive branch would be the same as the ones in Goldsboro, making it easier for people to utilize the full-service branch.

The project earlier received $5,000 donations from the foundations of Mt. Olive Pickle Co. and Southern Bank, and more recently, $2,000 from the Waylin Foundation to hire a consultant to help plan the project.

"We are thrilled with this gift. It really gets us off to a good start in terms of our fundraiser," said Lynn Williams, chairwoman of the library steering committee. "It's a very solid show of support for the library from Andy's. We look forward to approaching other organizations and foundations in the community to help us move forward.

"We are still trying to tweak our giving levels and could launch a grassroots campaign after the first of the year," Mrs. Williams said. "We are really trying to reach our goal of $30,000 by the end of the year, so when we say we are starting, we will already have something in hand. It probably will be after the first of the year when we will make a big splash that we are starting, but we are working behind the scenes, obviously, to get things in place before we officially get started."

Kenney Moore, founder of Andy's Burgers Shakes and Fries, presented the donation Monday just prior to the steering committee meeting.

The Foundation is three years old and was set up by Andy's, but is separate from the business and has its own board of directors.

Its annual fundraiser, a golf tournament at Southern Wayne Country Club, is held during the second week in September. And this year, said Jimmie Williams, executive director of the foundation, they had their "best year," despite the economic downturn, raising a record $140,000.

Moore said the Foundation is "kind of an offshoot" of the company golf tournament fundraiser, which has benefited Make-A-Wish and for the Miracle League.

"With this library with the chance for the southern end of the county, if you will, to have a wonderful facility like this for our children to come and enjoy it was just something that fits right into that mission," Moore said. "Especially being the home of Andy's, and where our corporate office is, to be a part of this, it is something that fits into the mission and is something that we are really excited about being a part of."

Since its inception, the golf tournament has raised approximately $715,000 , Williams said.

"Of that, approximately $200,000 of expenses related to the golf tournaments were incurred. The Foundation has given just over $445,000 in grants to 62 organizations in eastern North Carolina. We have commitments for over $75,000 over the next three years.

"All of the Andy's stores raise money and bring it in," Williams said. "We have corporate sponsors and individual stores have projects to raise money for the foundation.

"The purpose of the foundation is to support youth-related activities, charitable organizations that are in youth programs. Our concentration is in youth and with some emphasis on handicapped youths. We, of course, give most of it away every year. We retain just enough for operations."

Applications for the grants are available on the foundation Web site.

"The board meets and considers them," Williams said. "It is just a way that the whole Andy's organization feels like with the foundation it was a way to raise money to give back to the communities that they do business in.

"By the end of this we year we will have contributed over $125,000 to various things within the Andy's operational area," Williams said.

The Foundation also donated $7,500 to the United Way of Wayne County and $10,000 over two years to the Hurricanes youth football program to help with the purchase of lights for the team's new football field.