BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
---- — SALISBURY — The Newburyport-based Mary Alice Arakelian Foundation recently awarded a $200,000 grant to the Salisbury Public Library’s campaign to build a new library.
That brings to more than $700,000 the current monies raised for the project that will construct a 17,000-square-foot library to replace the town’s current 3,000-square-foot version that is bursting at its seams. The donation will be added to the $3.8 million state grant and reduce the taxpayers’ share of the $7.5 million project.
This is the second large contribution in recent months, coming shortly after the Institution for Savings announced it would contribute $500,000 to the library building fund. That was the first of what supporters hoped would be a number of pledges for the project. The Library Fund Raising Committee hopes to raise $2 million before it’s done.
In May, voters overwhelmingly approved at two separate times a bond issuance to cover the remaining funds needed to build the library: once at the polls and again at Spring Town Meeting. The Salisbury Library Board of Trustees pledged an aggressive fundraising campaign to reduce the amount of money the town needs to borrow — and taxpayers repay — to build its dream library. It appears they’re making good on that promise.
According to Salisbury Public Library director Terry Kyrios, the Arakelian Foundation meets once a year in September to review applications and award gifts. The library is among the few carefully chosen recipients of this year’s grant money, she said. To make its awards, the foundation relies strictly on word-of-mouth to attract funding requests and rarely receives less than 20 applicants a year, Kyrios said.
One of the larger foundations, according to its 2012 federal 990-PF tax return, the Arakelian Foundation has substantial assets amounting to more than $5.7 million as of last year. In 2012, it distributed $281,500 in the form of 13 gifts. Most contributions went to local charities, such as Our Neighbors’ Table, the Newburyport Educational Foundation, the Firehouse Center for the Arts and Anna Jaques Hospital, which won the largest award last year equaling $100,000.
The Salisbury Library Board of Trustees issued a statement last week in appreciation of the large gift.
“The Trustees of the Salisbury Library wish to give their heartfelt thanks to the Trustees of the Arakelian Foundation for their support and generosity along with thanks to all who have worked and continue to work diligently to make our new library building the very best it can be.”