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Where Are They Now? Story Builder Campaign Update!

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library was built in 1976 when gas was 59c per gallon, Happy Days was the most popular show on tv, and minimum wage was $2.30 an hour.

Eau Claire had changed and grown by 30,000 residents over 45 years since its beloved and well-used library was constructed. With library card holders of approximately 34,000, the library was in need of major updates to ensure safety, accessibility, and space were top priorities.

In 2017, studies took place which confirmed two significant findings: The library required nearly double the space to meet patron needs, and many of the systems they were using were nearing the end of their lifespan.

The City of Eau Claire City Council supported and approved the renovation/expansion plan of $18.5M with $11.5M in funding. But $7M was still needed to fulfill the goals of the expansion.

In 2018, the Library Board of Trustees sought a fundraising firm to complete a campaign readiness study to determine the capacity of the area philanthropic community to support a large private fundraising initiative. After reviewing 14 proposals from consultants and interviewing several, Crescendo Fundraising Professionals was chosen to manage the private fundraising study.

The study informed important findings upon which Crescendo designed a proposal for a fundraising campaign to meet the $7M private goal. Crescendo provided a plan and bid to the City of Eau Claire that was approved by the Library Board of Trustees.

By Fall of 2019, Crescendo was hired to plan and execute the fundraising campaign. Capital campaigns are never easy. But just imagine the challenge of leading a complicated process with dozens of volunteers in the middle of a pandemic. With the help of well-planned and executed strategic shifts, gleaned over 25 years of managing 40 capital campaigns, the Story Builder campaign continued, and the $7M goal was met.

Today, this extraordinary expansion, which re-opened to the public in September 2022, features new spaces such as a large community room, art gallery, rooftop terrace, and a much larger space equipped with play-and-learn materials for the children’s program. A few of the most exciting to highlight are the meeting and large community rooms available for public use; designated childrens, teen, and tween spaces with age-appropriate materials featuring a toddler gym, kid accessible book shelves, computer areas for the teens and tweens, and lounge or study rooms. Other exciting new features include a new automated book and material return service, drive through and pick up windows, and cost effective geothermal heating and cooling.

The new library spaces are an amazing addition to the growing community of Eau Claire and will be an incredible asset to those in the area. Not only does the new expansion allow for more people to enjoy the perks of the library, they are stunning as well.

Thank you to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library Trustees for trusting Crescendo Fundraising Professionals, LLC with your campaign management process. It was a pleasure to serve your staff, volunteers and donors.

Check out much more of the progress on our social media pages as we’ve been sharing the expansion highlights from the library.

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