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Springfield Library Foundation Announces Special Generous Gift to the East Forest Park Library Branch Promise Realized Campaign from the White Family

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined today with Springfield Library Director Molly Fogarty, Springfield Library Foundation President Patrick Markey, Springfield Library Foundation Executive Director Matt Blumenfeld, Springfield Library Foundation member Barbary Garvey, Springfield Library Commission Chair Stephen Cary, former Mayor Charlie Ryan and members of the White Family for a special generous gift to the East Forest Park Library Branch Promise Realized Campaign.  The six children of former City Solicitor William White and his wife Patricia have joined together to make a $200,000 commitment to the campaign. 

Also in attendance were State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., City Councilor Tim Allen, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Budget Director Melanie Acobe, and East Forest Park Branch Manager Jenkins Lumpkin.

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank the White Family for their very generous gift to our beloved East Forest Park Library.  Growing up the White family had fond memories of the neighborhood and they wanted to give back to our community and to honor the memory of their parents, Bill and Patricia White.  I cannot thank the family enough for their continued support of our City of Springfield and especially to our neighborhood libraries.  It is because of our neighborhood libraries that our families and children can enjoy learning, reading and have a place to gather and dream about the future.”

“I want to thank the Springfield Library Foundation for their continued support of our East Forest Park Library branch,” Mayor Sarno continued.  “Thanks to their continued support and investment, the Promise Realized campaign now stands at over $1.6 million!  Special thanks to Springfield Library Foundation President Patrick Markey, Library Foundation Executive Director Matt Blumenfeld, Library Foundation member Barbary Garvey, Springfield Library Commission Chair Stephen Cary and former Mayor Charlie Ryan for their unyielding efforts that benefit our East Forest Park library.  Working with Library Director Molly Fogarty, my Administration has been able to keep not just our Central Library Branch open but also our neighborhood library branches too.  We had to adjust our library hours and operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic but we are happy to report that as of Tuesday, September 7, our Central Library is now reopened and all of our neighborhood branches have expanded their hours to pre-pandemic schedule.”    

“On behalf of my sister and brothers, I am grateful that we have this opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to East Forest Park, the wonderful neighborhood where we were raised, and to future generations of Springfield residents,” said Thomas White.  “We were so happy when our close family friend Bob Phelan raised the idea of the new library to us.  When we came and visited Springfield and toured the new library last fall, my sister Maureen, John, and I were deeply impressed by the quality of the design the thought and care that went into creating such beautiful facilities for children, teens, and families.”

In recognition of the family’s gift, the Library will name the Children’s Room in honor of William and Patricia White. Plans are underway to hold a celebration at the East Forest Park Branch in the fall of 2021 to recognize all donors to the campaign, at which time donor plaques and room names will be unveiled to the public.

“The Library Foundation wants to express its sincere and heartfelt thanks to the entire family for stepping up with such a generous leadership gift during these extraordinarily challenging times,” said Library Foundation President Patrick Markey. “This commitment demonstrates the strength of the bonds between our City of Springfield and families who have moved away but retain roots here. I hope this gift inspires others to give as well.”

The Whites, who worked closely with the Library Foundation to coordinate and structure the gift believe their parents would be delighted to know that the Children’s Room will bear their names in perpetuity. “Our parents loved raising our family in East Forest Park and they both believed fundamentally in the power of reading and public libraries to transform lives and open doors to opportunity. To be able to play a part in inspiring ongoing generations of children to explore and expand their possibilities through reading would certainly have brought them great joy.  Our trip back to Springfield was made more memorable because we were able to meet up with Charlie Ryan, our father’s childhood friend and former law partner, along with Barbara Garvey, also a friend and neighbor.  Both Charlie and Barbara have worked tirelessly to make the new library a reality,” commented Maureen White.

According to Matt Blumenfeld, the Library Foundation’s Executive Director, the Promise Realized Campaign has now raised just over $1.65 million toward its $2 million goal to close out the campaign and complete the $9.5 million project.

“While we have paused active fundraising for some time because of the pandemic, we do want to relaunch as soon as conditions warrant,” said Mr. Blumenfeld. “The Foundation has continued to receive contributions for the campaign as well as other purposes, but we remain mindful and respectful of other urgent needs in the community. I am incredibly thankful to the White family for sparking our relaunch with their wonderful philanthropic gift.” 

Construction on the 17,000 square foot East Forest Park Branch on Surrey Road was completed in November 2019 and the facility opened with tremendous praise from the community in December.  “Usage at East Forest Park Branch skyrocketed before we had to close, and we remain confident that it will continue to grow once we can fully reopen,” said Library Director Molly Fogarty. “Our staff are all grateful to John White and his siblings for this wonderful gift and cannot wait to see the Children’s Room once again full of youngsters and caregivers reading, learning and playing together.”

In addition to the 4,000 square foot Children’s Room, the East Forest Park Branch offers a dedicated Teen area, a Maker Space, a large community meeting room, quiet study rooms, dozens of computer stations, book and media collections, an outdoor patio and reading garden, and ample parking.  It is completely accessible to all.

Individuals, businesses and others interested in contributing may contact the Springfield Library Foundation, at promiserealizedcampaign@gmail.com or MBlumenfeld@springfieldlibrary.org

for further information.  The campaign is accepting pledges for up to five years.

“The Library Foundation has been a strong steward of many gifts large and small, and we intend to continue this legacy far into the future,” said Mr. Markey. “Since 2005, the Foundation has contributed more than $6.5 million to the Springfield City Library, for books and materials, in support of the Mason Square branch, and for staff development and library programs. The Promise Realized Campaign continues this legacy and enables all of us to make a positive contribution to the future of the City of Springfield.”

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Page last updated:  Thursday, September 2, 2021 10:30 am