Gambrell Foundation Invests $3 Million in New Main Library’s Innovation Lab

Gift is part of The CommonSpark campaign to improve lives and strengthen community

Charlotte, NC – January 22, 2020 – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation is pleased to announce an investment of $3 million by The Gambrell Foundation in The CommonSpark, a $135 million public-private campaign to ignite change within Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The funds will support an Innovation Lab housed at the new Main Library, opening in 2024. The planned lab will be a next-generation makerspace, equipped with the technology, tools and resources of tomorrow for individuals and groups to engage in design for learning, economic opportunity and problem-solving.

Sally Gambrell Bridgford

The CommonSpark campaign addresses an integrated set of needs: construction of a new Main Library; renovation of a Support Services Center; technology, innovation and programming throughout Charlotte Mecklenburg Library; an endowment for the future and annual Library operating support.

“The Gambrell Foundation is delighted to help support equitable access to information and literature in this digital age,” said Foundation president Sally Gambrell Bridgford. “This grant is consistent with our mission and we are excited to invest in creating a technologically advanced space where the imaginations of many will be inspired to change the future.”

The Library Foundation strives to partner with individuals, foundations and companies throughout the community whose missions and values align with those of the Library. “This partnership is a perfect opportunity to work together to eliminate barriers and ensure public access to resources that help individuals and communities thrive. We will be forever grateful to The Gambrell Foundation for their support and belief in our leadership, organization and the powerful future of libraries,” said Library Foundation executive director and the Library’s chief community officer Jenni Gaisbauer.

Seth Ervin, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s chief innovation officer explained, “The Innovation Lab will provide the community access to technology, resources and opportunities to experiment, engaging with each other in conversations about our shared future. We are here with resources, but real solutions are in the hands – and imaginations – of everyone in this community. This gift brings the vision to life.”

About Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation exists to help the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library improve lives and build a stronger community. Created as a non-profit 501(c)(3) in September 2012 in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the Foundation supports Library services, expands the Library’s collection of print and digital materials, enhances programming for all ages, invests in innovative initiatives and strives to grow its endowment for future generations. For more, visit

About The Gambrell Foundation
The Gambrell Foundation dedicates its resources, efforts and collaborative spirit to ending inequity in our society through strategic investments in smart, effective, and innovative change initiatives that drive results. We believe that everyone deserves a seat at the table and that better solutions and ideas are developed in partnership with the communities we serve. For more, visit

About Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is one of America’s leading urban public libraries, serving a community of more than one million citizens in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Through 20 locations, targeted outreach and online, the Library delivers exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. For more, visit


Media Contact: Melanie Baron
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation
(704) 416-0804


Related Posts

Charles Bowman and the Most Literate City in America

Charles Bowman believes, “Libraries are the land of opportunities. Places where people come together.” Today we celebrate Charles’ retirement of a celebrated career with Bank of America and the many ways he has helped make our community a better place for families. Charles can be described in many ways: attorney, community leader, friend and advocate but our favorite way is library champion.

Read More