Submitted by Wilma Allen
May 13, 2015 7:54 p.m.
A $75,000 grant from The James M. Cox Foundation capped off a great week for Friends of the Library (FOL), which has been raising funds for several years to expand and improve the library in downtown Fernandina Beach.
The grant was announced by FOL President, Bill Flynn, last night at the organization’s 30th anniversary party, the first major event to be held in the new and renovated Library that opened just three weeks ago.
“Tonight we are honored to announce a wonderful gift of $75,000 from the James M. Cox Foundation to support the planned Youth and Career Center of the new Fernandina Beach Library,” Flynn said. “This will provide services and dedicated space and computers with high speed internet for college, scholarship and job applications; specialized databases for college preparation and career certification tests, and much more to improve job skills, promote career development and lifetime achievement, free, for all in our community. The Youth and Career Center will open up a wide range of opportunities for area young people and families that were not available before,” Flynn said.
The James M. Cox Foundation provides philanthropic support for not-for-profit organizations in communities where Cox Enterprises does business. This includes Cox Media Group which operates FOX 30 Action News, CBS 47 Action News, My TV JAX, 95.1 WAPE, HOT 106.5, 96-9 The Eagle, Power 106-1, Newstalk WOKV and X102.9. Cox Enterprises also operates Manheim Jacksonville in the area. Chris Wolf, director of programming and public affairs, WJAX TV, was on hand to represent Cox Media Group.
Flynn also announced that private donations to the capital campaign have now reached $974,111, bringing the total raised to close to $2.2 million. “We are so grateful to over 700 very generous donors many of whom are here tonight. This shows our goal of $2.4 million is clearly within reach,” he said. Flynn also commended Dee Torre for her tireless dedication over many years in the role of Campaign Chair.
Another highlight of the evening was the dedication of the new “Friends of the Library Community Meeting Room.” FOL past and present board members contributed $120,000 to name the room which will accommodate meetings of up to 80 people and will be available for all community groups and organizations. Contact the Library, 277-7365, for more information and reservations.
FOL was honored earlier in the week by Fernandina Beach City Commissioners with a proclamation for its “tireless efforts in raising funds to construct and renovate the existing library.” The City of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County each committed $600,000 to FOL’s campaign with the understanding that FOL would contribute $400,000 for construction and $800,000 for furnishings, equipment and other essentials.
Mayor Ed Boner and County Commissioner Danny Leeper represented the City and County Commissions and over 100 people toured the spacious new facility, enjoyed a brief history of the Fernandina Beach Library (click here to view) and a celebratory cake contributed by pastry chefs at the Ritz Carlton.
“We invite all who can now see the wonderful reality of this effort to help us finish the job and make this library a real source of pride for our community,” Flynn added. For information and to donate, visit FERNANDINAFOL.ORG, email [email protected], or call 904-321-6529.