February 2018: Charles County Public Library

February 2018: Charles County Public Library

CCPL's new SOAR Innovation Space. 

Congratulations to our February “FIN of the Month”: Charles County Public Library located in Waldorf, MD. Shannon Bland, FIN supervisor, sent in her story and shared the library’s recent achievements, including a new grant!

Charles County Public Library has been a partner since 2007. When I became the FIN Supervisor over 3 years ago I was a little intimidated by all the trainings I would be teaching and information I needed to know. However, that quickly changed with the support of my organization, the Foundation Center, and community partners. Now, after more than 10 years as as a FIN, our goal is to host at least one nonprofit centered workshop every two months and participate in local community events to highlight our program.

Over the years, we have formed community partnerships with various organizations including the Charles County Charitable Trust, the Nonprofit Institute at the College of Southern Maryland, the Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Administration, SCORE, and of course, FINs at other libraries! We have co-hosted very successful events together such as our Nonprofit Community Networking Fairs, Meet the Media, Business Plans for Small Businesses and Nonprofits, and How to Start a Nonprofit - a SCORE led workshop. Be sure to check out your local SCORE chapter, they not only help businesses but nonprofits too! In addition, we also regularly offer the introductory Foundation Center workshops and one-on-one grant and scholarship searching sessions.

Our community is becoming more and more aware of these resources and we gladly launched our new innovative project - SOAR Innovation Space - this month. This grant funded project (thanks for all the free grant writing training, Foundation Center!) provides a new Mac and Dell computer fully loaded with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office software, mics, headsets, and a mixer for audio recording, a DSLR Canon camera, access to the ReferenceUSA database, and a large scale poster printer for users to access for free. We're excited about this new endeavor and the visibility it will bring to the library.

In 2017, we also had the opportunity to sit on the committee that oversees the Charles County Nonprofit Economic & Social Impact Study.  The purpose of the study was to gain a contemporaneous picture of the county’s nonprofit sector by exploring the economic and social impact made by nonprofit organizations in the county. The study’s final report was released last month and provides an overview of the significant role nonprofit organizations play and highlights their contributions to the county’s economy and quality of life. As a FIN, we plan to use the data to develop new training and outreach opportunities for the nonprofit community of Charles County.

The Charles County Public Library has worked hard to bridge the gap between the local social sector and small businesses - we have successfully offered Foundation Center resources and trainings to both groups of current and new professionals. Now our community is beginning to recognize us as being more than “just books” - instead, we are a learning center and a place where those with budding ideas and skills can grow.

Special thanks to Shannon and congratulations on the opening of your new SOAR Innovation Space - a wonderful example of how Foundation Center resources can help nonprofits not only succeed, but thrive!

Would you like to be our next "FIN of the Month?" Let us know about your innovative projects, special events and more! Your story will be featured in our next e-newsletter and on the network site in the upcoming months.