Guest Commentary: Library friends need help with fundraising

Posted 12/17/20

When was the last time you visited our R.H. Johnson Library? Today? Yesterday? Last week? All of the above?

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Guest Commentary: Library friends need help with fundraising


When was the last time you visited our R.H. Johnson Library? Today? Yesterday? Last week? All of the above?

Then you know that we have one of the premier private non-academic libraries in the Southwest U.S. With more than 40,000 books, e-books, 17,000 DVDs, hundreds of jigsaw puzzles, etc., there is something for everyone at our library.

Now, for a quiz. What Sun City West club raises and disperses more than $100,000 per year for our library’s support? The answer is the Friends of the R.H. Johnson Library, whose single focus is the library’s support. All of the library’s contents, the books, e-books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines and jigsaw puzzles are purchased by the Friends using fundraising events and donations.

Fundraising activities include our book sales and the Thursday Night movies. Our quarterly book sales are very profitable for the Friends as well as being large social events, with more than 1,000 persons attending in some cases. The books we sell come from our residents, who continue to be very generous in donating books in good physical shape. The Thursday Night Movies are a “night out” for many of our residents. All for the recommended donation of $2. We pride ourselves on showing some of the latest movies as soon as they are available in DVD format.

Our fundraising activities in 2020 have taken a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our only book sale in 2020 was last February, and we have had to curtail the showing of the Thursday night movies for most of the year. Therefore, we are thankful that we have the Friends endowment that we are using to supplement our fundraising revenue loss.

The funding of the Friends endowment comes through our annual donation drive, as well as the generous contributions. Each year our residents have been very forthcoming in their donations to our Friends endowment. The Friends are also the humble recipients of various bequeaths.

In the last week or so, you have received our annual letter outlining the Friends endowment’s purpose. The letter also points out the Friends are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means that the Friends’ donations are eligible for tax deductions.

We would appreciate it if you would keep the Friends of the R.H. Johnson in mind as you plan your annual giving as well as any longer-term estate planning. One hundred percent of your donation goes to the support of our library. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: Larry Woods is Friends of the R.H. Johnson Library board president.