Donor Society

donor-society-thank-you-imageThe Donor Society recognizes The Friends’ most generous individual supporters. Society members make substantial annual gifts to The Friends, such as a contribution of $500 or more. Additionally, individuals or families who have made provisions for The Friends in their estate plan automatically become members of our Donor Society. Currently more than 400 individuals belong to the Donor Society.


Email Greg GilesVice President of Development and Community Engagement to learn more about becoming a Donor Society member, and join us in September for lunch with another award-winning author!


The annual Donor Society luncheon recognizes the generosity shown by The Friends’ contributors who help support the Saint Paul Public Library. The luncheon is held annually at the Town and Country Club in Saint Paul with a featured author presentation. All donor society members receive a copy of the author’s latest book. After lunch and the author presentation, Donor Society members are invited to meet the author and have their books signed.

The 2017 Donor Society Luncheon will be Thursday, September 29.

We will feature The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang, recent winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction.

In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses; extemporizing or drawing on folk tales, he keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes. Following her award-winning book The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father Bee Yang, the song poet, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by American’s Secret War. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee’s mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine. Written with the exquisite beauty for which Yang is renowned, The Song Poet is a love story – of a daughter for her father, a father for his children, a people for their land, their traditions, and all that they have lost.

Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. Her work has been published in Longreads and the Virginia Quarterly. Yang, who has taught at Columbia University and Concordia University-St. Paul, among other places, lives in Minneapolis with her family.


In past years, featured authors at Donor Society events have included Cathy Wurzer, Jack El-Hai, Brett Laidlaw, David Housewright, Kevin Kling, Biloine “Billie” Young, Peter Brown, Lori Sturdevant, Pete Hautman, Mary Logue, Walter Mosley, Rosellen Brown, Patricia Hampl, Judith Guest, Bill Holm, Christopher Cerf, Ellen Hart, Jon Hassler, Vince Flynn and Sandra Benitez.