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RFL Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Written by Leslie Blair

Serving nearly 3,000 patrons and 150 nonprofits a year,  the Regional Foundation Library (RFL) celebrated its 50 year anniversary this week as a community resource to nonprofits and individuals in Texas.

RFL open house

On Oct. 23, about 40 individuals from nonprofits, foundations and the community gathered at the library, located on the second floor of the Community Engagement Center, at 1009 East 11th Street, to celebrate the legacy that the library has created. Since 1962, the library has educated nonprofits, students, and others on researching funding opportunities, grant-making and offering workshops on nonprofit formation. The library serves more than 2,500 patrons a year, including 150 nonprofit organizations.

“Not every major city has a regional foundation library so Austin is very fortunate to have this advantage in our city,” said Dr. Meredith Morrow, Austin Lyric Opera’s institutional gifts manager.

The RFL was the fifth such entity created in the country, and now there are more than 400 regional collections. Originally, the library was a part of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, but in 2007 both units separated and are now housed within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

The small staff hosts a weekly orientation every Thursday afternoon, and assists clients on and off-site. Many times giving direction to patrons who are not privy to searching for and getting support from the many public and private resources available to nonprofits and organizations serving the community.

The personalized attention and knowledgeable staff is what keeps library users like Jean Diebolt, CEO of The Hope Project, coming back.

“The existence of the Regional Foundation Library is why a one-room clinic in the back corner of a warehouse in Shelby, Texas, is now a 12-room primary care clinic with a three million dollar budget,” she said.