Library to receive $1.5 million gift
The Yuma Library Foundation has received a large bequest, providing a substantial boost to the endowment fund that finances special projects to enhance Yuma County libraries.
“This is a wonderful gift,” said Dan Dawson, treasurer of the board for the Yuma Library Foundation that raises and manages private endowment funds to expand library services around the county.
He said the foundation has received $1.2 million from the estate of Nedra Lee Williams. Three other organizations also are benefiting from the estate.
Once the estate is settled, the Yuma Library Foundation will receive an additional quarter-million dollars for a total bequest of about $1.5 million, Dawson said.
“This is a substantial boost to the endowment fund,” said longtime board member Jerry Stuart, who noted that the foundation previously had about $250,000.
With some advance notice that the foundation would be receiving a large sum from Williams' estate, the board met with several financial advisers to determine where to invest the money.
“We're looking for a variety of good conservative investments,” Dawson said.
The endowment fund is invested in perpetuity, with 5 percent of the assets distributed each year to the Yuma County Library District.
With the addition of the $1.2 million received so far from the estate, that 5 percent would be about $70,000 if a check were written today, Dawson noted.
The purpose of the endowment funding is to finance programs that wouldn't be included in the library district's budget, explained Gerald Giss, foundation board chairman. “We don't want it to supplant the libraries' regular funding. We're proud of our libraries and this will help with special projects.”
Foundation projects so far have included the wall of art by young artists on permanent display at the Yuma Main Library and the book-a-year purchase program. The board also has been looking at creating an Arizona Room to advance local history and documents, Giss said.
Dawson said other possibilities could be special events, the purchase of additional e-books, software and even computers. Another option may be to reinvest some of the money with the Yuma Community Foundation.
“Whatever will make the library system better for the residents of the community,” he said.