02/09/11 — Andy's pushes funding for library to $300K

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Andy's pushes funding for library to $300K

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 9, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Andy's Charitable Foundation, which provided the first corporate gift for the Steele Memorial Library fundraiser, has increased that initial pledge to send the total raised thus far for the library to more than $300,000 -- the threshold set by the county to begin the search for an architect for the $3.5 million project.

The foundation made an initial pledge in October 2009 of $30,000 over three years and Karen Williams Moore literally jumped out of her seat when her husband and Andy's founder, Kenney Moore, announced an additional $20,000 gift in her honor during a brief program Tuesday afternoon at the town's old train depot.

"I hope this accomplishes two things," said Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee chairman Lynn Williams. "Number one is that the county is on go to move forward, but the other is a reminder for all of the meant-tos who have meant to write a check. Now is the time to do it.

"We have $50,000 to go for us to fulfill our commitment (of $350,000) to Wayne County and to the commissioners what we said we would do to get the library here. This is a reminder that now is the time."

County Manager Lee Smith has said that once $300,000 was raised, he would go to the county commissioners and get a request for qualifications under way.

The Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee also needs to provide assurance it would raise the final $50,000, he said.

An architect or engineering firm interested in the project would submit its qualifications in response to the request for qualifications, which would be used by the county to select a company for the project.

It is for design only and not the actual construction.

Smith has not set a time frame for the process.

The Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee is spearheading the $350,000 grassroots fundraising effort which translates to about 10 percent of the total project cost.

"We did see that you were $20,000 short and because of that we wanted to step up our pledge $20,000 to bring our total pledge to $50,000," said Moore, foundation president. "I would like to do it in honor of my wife, Karen. I can't think of a better way to honor her. She has not only been a supporter of me through the years and what I do, but has also been a huge fan of the library.

"Our kids have come through it since we moved here. All of my children have an amazing love of books and it is because of her. She has read to them from the time that they were tiny, tiny. She taught them there were many worlds to be seen, to learn about new books. Her love of books has been passed on to them and that is why I have bright, beautiful children."

He added, "We are just proud to be part of the Mount Olive community, to have our corporate office here, to have our foundation here and to live here. Nothing can make us happier than to see this to come to fruition."

Mrs. Moore, who is a member of the library steering committee, said she was at the announcement because she had been told nobody else from the foundation board was going to be able to come and that she needed to be here.

"I just appreciate the (foundation) board doing this so much," she said. "(The library) is so near and dear to my heart. They just jumped right on it. They saw the $20,000 that we still need to raise and jumped right on it. I always thought they might name something after me because of the library fines I am always paying, so this is a blessing.

"I am very excited. I have a 21-year-old and we started as soon as he was born going to the library and finding all of the jewels there. Now our 10-year-old and 8-year-old go every week."

The Andy's Charitable Foundation was founded in 2006, said Jimmy Williams, foundation executive director. Its primary fundraiser is an annual golf tournament that actually started in 2000. Proceeds from the first four or five tournaments went to the Make A Wish Foundation.

"In 2006, Kenney and I were talking and we thought, well, it would be nice if we had the flexibility to look at other possibilities in the communities within our service area of the Andy's restaurants -- the last count I had was 108 and there may be more than that," said Williams, who is Mrs. Moore's father.

From that idea, the foundation was formed.

The golf tournaments have raised $1.7 million of which $1.2 million has been given away. Williams said that means a good job has been done in holding expenses where they ought to be.

"Since the foundation itself started we have given away $692,000," he said. "Last year, we gave $119,000 to 35 different organizations in the Andy's service area.

"The basic purpose of our foundation is to help kids. Whatever we did, children would be involved. Nothing is more involved with children than libraries. As an old school man, the library is the heart of the school -- always has been, always will be even though we call it the media center or whatever terms to incorporate all of the latest technology."

Williams called the library the heart of the community.

"I think Mount Olive is extremely fortunate to have the library that we already have and the services it provides," he said "I see it. I am in it. I see my grandchildren, my children are in it and know the tremendous service.

"After the initial fundraising, Andy's was proud to provide the initial funding of $30,000 over three years. That brings us to why we are here today. I understand the deal with county commissioners is that when we reached $300,000 they would employ the architect and begin the work."

Mrs. Williams said she loved surprises.

"I am just so grateful to Andy's because when we first began the process Andy's was the first corporate gift we received when we launched this fundraising campaign," she said. "So I think it is very telling that Andy's was again at this milestone at this point. You kicked off our fundraising and now you are able to kick off our search for an architect and the movement forward."

Mrs. Williams joked that she and Mrs. Moore, who grew up together, are the library's paying customers because of their many late fees.

She also told the group that one of the next fundraising activities for the library is a spring mailing and a "Steele Madness" basketball-themed event based on the NCAA March Madness at the Mount Olive Middle School gym on March 5.

Brochures about the library project are available at the library, as well as other locations around town.

Checks should be made payable to Wayne County Public Library, and the Steele Memorial Building Project should be indicated on the checks. Checks may be mailed to the Wayne County Public Library, 1001 East Ash St., Goldsboro, NC 27530.

The new library will be housed in the former Belk's department store building on West Main Street that the county purchased for $400,000 from Mount Olive College.