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Allen County Public Library

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The Library is a service institution. It seeks to inform, educate, entertain, and culturally enrich the entire community by providing books and other library materials, facilities, and professional services for free use by all residents.

The Allen County Public Library has been part of the social and cultural fabric of Fort Wayne, Indiana and surrounding communities since 1895. Then known as the Fort Wayne Public Library, it served residents with 3606 volumes in a room in City Hall. Since then it has grown to consist of the main library in downtown Fort Wayne and thirteen branches in the city and outlying communities.

Fort Wayne has been cited as the Best Read City in the United States by Places Rated Almanac, due in large part to the library's collection and patrons' use of it.

The Allen County Public Library Foundation was created in 1984 as a private, non-profit 501(c)3 trust to receive, administer and distribute income exclusively for the charitable and educational purposes of the Allen County Public Library. The Foundation raises private dollars to enhance the library's acquisitions, innovations and special projects beyond the capacity of the normal operating budget provided by tax dollars from residents of Allen County.


The Foundation's first major fundraising effort was the National Endowment for the Humanities "Legacy of Knowledge" campaign in 1987, which raised more than $1,000,000 from area individuals, businesses and corporations to match an NEH challenge grant of $300,000. These funds created an endowment which produces income to buy books and other library materials in the humanities, a subject area in which the library has traditionally taken the lead.

During 1995 a major capital gift was received from Sallie Wilkens Rowland of Indianapolis, creating the Cleo O. Wilkens Collection of Indiana Primary Source Documents for the Historical Genealogy department. Also, in the fall of 1995, the Foundation created the Genealogy Endowment Fund. In 2008, the Foundation received a $10 million endowment from the Edward D and Ione Auer Foundation that will be paid in yearly increments of $1 million.

Endowment Funds

Just as a great university or college builds a strong endowment to educate future generations of students, so the Allen County Public Library must create a firm financial reserve to insure the future excellence of information services to its patrons. Looking ahead, the Allen County Public Library Foundation believes that private philanthropic dollars will be increasingly critical if the library is to remain strong and vital for those who come after us. Therefore, the Foundation has established endowment funds to receive private gifts to augment public support. Funds exist for various following areas:

  • Business, Science and Technology
  • Young People's Services
  • Humanities
  • Genealogy
  • Information Technology
  • Outreach Services

In the face of dramatic changes in technology and information, the library must stay on the cutting edge. Careful, innovative preparation for the future, accomplished with private and corporate financial support (specifically through a program of planned gifts) will position the Allen County Public Library as an indispensable "information superstore" serving the people of Allen County, the region and the nation.


  • Sherrill Colvin, Chair
  • Adie Baach , Vice Chair
  • Alan McMahan, Secretary
  • W. Michael Horton, Treasurer
  • Madelane Elston
  • Lockwood Marine
  • Michael Mastrangelo
  • Kim Stacey
  • Betsy Chapman
  • Susan Johnson

Planned and Capital Gifts

Planned Gifts: Through a "planned" (deferred) gift, such as a bequest through your will, you may give to the library foundation specified amounts of cash, other property, life insurance, a percentage of your overall estate, or a portion of the residue (what is left after you satisfy the needs of your beneficiaries or other charities). You may choose to designate a gift through a charitable trust. Your attorney or financial planner can assist you to create a gift best suited to your individual circumstance. Besides benefitting the library in a significant way, you receive membership in the Foundation's Second Century Society, which provides special yearly donor events and incentives. Along with these, it is possible for you to enjoy tax benefits and savings contingent upon your tax bracket, gift size, etc.

Capital (Cash) Gifts:You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Library through an outright gift of cash, stocks or other assets, in your name or in honor or memory of a relative or friend. A gift in any amount is welcome and is appreciated. You may specify a department, service or branch to which your gift may be directed. Donors who make a gift of $1,000 or more have their names engraved on the Scroll of Honor located on the first floor of the main library. Recognition is also given in special publications.

Donor Levels for Capital (Cash)Gifts

Cash gifts are received and prominently acknowledged in one of the giving levels engraved on the Scroll of Honor at the main library. Cumulative gifts qualify you for upgrades into higher giving levels. Levels include:

  • Supporters - $1,000-4,999
  • Contributors - $5,000-9,999
  • Sponsors - $10,000-24,999
  • Patrons - $25,000-74,999
  • Pacesetters - $75,000-149,999
  • Fellows - $150,000-299,999
  • Philanthropists - $300,000-499,999
  • Founders - $500,000 and above

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Details and Specs

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