Giles will complete the current capital campaign, and design and launch a planned giving strategy, as he takes over efforts to increase individual giving to support the library
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, April 29, 2015 — One of the oldest and strongest library support organizations in the country, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announce the recent hiring of Greg Giles as Director of Development. Giles comes to The Friends after spending the last five years at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). As the Senior Development Officer at SMM, he was responsible for leading and sustaining an annual giving program resulting in $1.5 million in capital, program and annual gifts. His first charge as he transitions to The Friends will be to assist in closing out the final (public) phase of the current $7.8 million capital campaign. The campaign, which supports the complete renovation of Sun Ray and Highland Park Libraries and modest but important improvements to George Latimer Central Library, has already raised $6.8 million toward its goal. Total project cost was $14.8 million, with the City of Saint Paul contributing the other $7 million. The Sun Ray and Highland Park Libraries reopened late in 2014 but the capital campaign is not yet completed.
Growing up in the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove, Greg Giles dreamed of becoming many things as an adult: architect, actor, star point guard. But a fundraiser? Not on the list. “Yeah, no kid ever said ‘I want to be a fundraiser when I grow up,’” laughs Greg. “You don’t play ‘Philanthropy’ with the neighbor kids, arguing whose turn it is to give money away this time!”
By chance, a temporary assignment at the Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center Foundation turned into a lifelong career, and one that Giles is passionate about. “I get to work every day with people who care about making the world a better place, and are willing to do something about it. What could be better?” Twenty-four years after that fateful placement, he has raised millions of dollars for organizations as diverse as The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the Guthrie Theater and, most recently, The Science Museum of Minnesota.
A St. Paul resident since 1986, when he came to Hamline University (pursuing that childhood dream of being an actor), Greg says he is thrilled to bring his talents to the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. “It’s such a foundational organization for my favorite city. I can’t imagine a world without libraries, and I’m looking forward to working with other people who feel the same way.”
Greg and his wife Teresa live in Irvine Park with their 13-year-old miniature dachshund. “I love that neighborhood. It’s a beautiful historic district right by the Mississippi River and a quick walk to downtown.” That walk also includes his home library, George Latimer Central. When he’s not connecting donors with their passions, Greg is a playwright, a landscape photographer, and volunteers with The Playwrights’ Center and the First Unitarian Society.
The Friends’ Board recently completed a three-year strategic plan, which outlined specific objectives in its ongoing and future fundraising efforts. Identified as priorities were increasing both the number of members and the number of sustaining (monthly giving) members. The Friends has provided cash, grant and advocacy support to the Saint Paul Public Library totaling more than $1 million per year for each of the last 19 years. The new strategic plan has the ambitious goal of more than doubling the amount of unrestricted annual support by 2017.
About The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library: Currently celebrating its 70th year, The Friends is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is stronger libraries for stronger communities. The Friends has a nonprofit consulting group, Library Strategies, that provides services to libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally. As an influential voice for libraries, we will ensure the Saint Paul Public Library and our partner libraries are vital centers of engaged, educated and diverse communities. The Friends also leads the Minnesota Book Awards and serves as the Minnesota Center for the Book – the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242.