When Rob Harrington and Tina Bonner-Henry talk about libraries, their enthusiasm is contagious – and spreading enthusiasm was the idea behind two virtual wine receptions the pair hosted this summer.
The two serve on the CommonSpark campaign committee. “It’s critical that support – especially financial support – for the new Main Library be broad based,” explains Harrington. “Many in the Black community are willing and able to contribute but aren’t asked. These events were an opportunity to expand our donor base and generate positive buzz around the project and the Library overall.”
The receptions brought together African American business and civic leaders and their partners for a virtual conversation – over hand-delivered wine – with Marcellus “MT” Turner, your Library’s new CEO and Chief Librarian, and Chad Carpenter of Snøhetta, Main Library’s design architects.
Bonner-Henry explains, “We reached out to people we personally know, who we knew would see the value not only in a new building for the Library but in everything the Library offers and would recognize the value of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “We talked about the Library and surrounding development and welcomed MT to Charlotte. There was great energy and a social aspect as well…just like the Library,” Harrington recalls. “The first reception was such a positive
experience we did it again for people who couldn’t make it, and the level of engagement has already exceeded our expectations.” To date, the 36 couples who attended have pledged more than $265,000 to the CommonSpark.
Bonner-Henry isn’t surprised. “The new Main Library is an easy sell. Everyone has a personal connection to libraries. It’s a meeting place, a social place, a place of learning and opportunity and possibility – my commitment today is because of what libraries offered me as a child and continue to offer today. Anyone who feels strongly about building community will support the CommonSpark.”
“Education, reading and the ongoing quest for knowledge is fundamental to lifelong stability and upward mobility. The Library has a special role in our communities to broaden that opportunity by providing access to reading and technology for many more people. We fully support the Library’s mission and all the good that comes from their work.”
– Mary & Chris Winston, virtual wine reception guests
To learn more and help ignite The CommonSpark, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-416-0803.