Capital Campaign

“A New Legacy of Learning” Campaign Closes

While the active phase of the campaign is now complete and our beautiful libraries are open and serving people of all ages and backgrounds, pledges accepted during the campaign are still being fulfilled. Thank you for joining us in strengthening our library and our community.

Click here to make a payment on your pledge.


“Supporting these projects is an investment in education for everyone,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “These libraries are where young children learn to read, job-seekers find help learning new skills, and teens experiment with changing technology, so we need to ensure that they are equipped to serve the coming generations.”

Facts about the capital campaign:

The campaign lasted more than four years. It was launched in 2011. The City of Saint Paul contributed $7 million to the projects, and The Friends raised $7.4 million in private funds, for a total of $14.4 million for the Sun Ray, Highland Park, and George Latimer Central Library renovations.

The campaign has been successfully completed at $7.4 million. The original private fundraising goal was $7.8 million, but because some of the projects came in under budget, the total amount of private funding required was reduced.

The new Sun Ray Library features an additional 2,500 square feet of public space; a new outdoor reading garden; a quiet, enclosed reading area; meeting and study rooms; the 900-square-foot 3M Community Room, which offers after-hours access; increased natural lighting; new areas for children and teens; and a new public art installation.

The new Highland Park Library features an additional 5,000 square feet of public space; improved visibility and accessibility to Ford Parkway; additional parking; a reading garden; convenient exterior book drop; express holds pick up; a dedicated teen zone; new meeting and study rooms; increased natural daylighting; an expanded children’s area; more Internet stations; more seating for reading; and a new public art installation.

Finance & Commerce's Top Project of 2014Sun Ray and Highland Park were complete renovations. Because of re-purposed use of interior spaces, both libraries now have more public space than their pre-renovation versions. And both are success stories! In the first year since reopening, Sun Ray Library’s circulation was the highest since 2009, and Highland Park Library averages 25,000 visitors a month. Both libraries offer dedicated spaces for children and teens, quiet places for reading and study, and technology-equipped community meeting rooms. They also offer reading gardens and bright new, light-filled interiors.

George Latimer Central Library features new service areas on every floor:

  • First floor: Otto Bremer Community Room and Peter J. King Welcome Center
  • Second floor: Repurposing of the Nicholson Commons
  • Third floor: Nicholson Workforce and Innovation Center

Campaign supporters:

The first leadership gift of the campaign was a $500,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation in 2011.

Approximately 88% of gifts came from institutions (foundations and corporations), 12% from individuals.

Thirty-two institutions made capital gifts. Of these, nearly two-thirds made gifts of $50,000 or more. They are:

  1. 3M
  2. Otto Bremer Foundation
  3. The McKnight Foundation
  4. The Saint Paul Foundation
  5. F.R. Bigelow Foundation
  6. Peter J. King Family Foundation
  7. Pohlad Family Foundation
  8. Hardenbergh Foundation
  9. The Patrick & Aimee Butler Family Foundation
  10. Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  11. Mardag Foundation
  12. Katherine B. Andersen Fund
  13. Ecolab Foundation
  14. The Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation
  15. RBC Foundation
  16. Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
  17. Trillium Family Foundation
  18. The Driscoll Foundation
  19. Travelers Foundation
  20. Securian Foundation
  21. Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation
  22. Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota
  23. Boss Foundation
  24. Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts
  25. McCarthy Bjorklund Foundation
  26. The Scrooby Foundation
  27. Hugh J. Andersen Foundation
  28. MAHADH Fund of HRK Foundation
  29. Marbrook Foundation
  30. Art & Martha Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation
  31. 2002 Irrevocable Trust of Frederick T. Weyerhaeuser
  32. William & Corrine Dietrich Charitable Fund

The largest campaign gift was from 3M: $1 million for the Sun Ray Library renovation. The 3M Community Room at Sun Ray Library was named in honor of this generous gift.

Eight institutional funders made generous additional gifts late in the campaign, when The Friends’ fundraising goal was still far off. This was one of the more unusual features of the campaign. When The Friends feared it might have to withdraw funds from its endowment to meet the goal, these generous funders rallied in support of the campaign and contributed a total of $900,000 in supplemental grants.

We had 265 individual campaign donors with gifts ranging from a few dollars to six figures and, together, those individuals gave a total of nearly $1 million.

In all, nearly 200 institutions and individuals made gifts or pledges of $1,000 or more and have their names on the permanent donor walls at the Sun Ray, Highland Park, and George Latimer Central libraries.

A Steering Committee consisting of thirteen individuals led the campaign, in addition to Library Directors Kit Hadley and Jane Eastwood, with Friends’ staff members Peter Pearson, Susan Dowd, and Greg Giles. We are supremely grateful for the service they provided. The Steering Committee included Mayor Chris Coleman (Honorary Campaign Chair), John Taft (Honorary Campaign Chair), George Latimer (Co-Chair), Tom Swain (Co-Chair), Bill Cosgriff (Co-Chair), Tanya Lea Bell, Mike Connelly, Heidi Gesell, Pat Harris, Diana Lewis, Tom McLeod, Richard Nicholson and Marschall Smith.

SPPL Grand Openings

Visit The Friends’ Facebook page for more photos from the celebrations at Highland Park and Sun Ray.

Donor Walls

All donors of gifts $1,000 and above will be permanently recognized on donor walls installed in the renovated and enhanced libraries.


Above: Highland Park and Sun Ray Donor Walls