Fayetteville Public Library Foundation announces donation to kick off community phase of fundraising campaign

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – According to a news release, the Fayetteville Public Library Foundation has received a $1 million donation from the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation.

The FPL expansion kitchen will be renamed the Walker Family Teaching Kitchen in honor of the family’s new contribution. The library said it was a major step towards completing the Beyond Words: Finish this Chapter fundraising campaign.

“The Walker family has played a major role in the evolution of the Fayetteville Public Library,” said David Johnson, executive director. “Their donation to the Blair Library fundraising campaign continues to be honored as the Walker Community Hall is one of the most used spaces in the original library. It was so popular, in fact, that its demand was a catalyst for many of the new meeting and event spaces you see in the expansion.

“Because one of the purposes of our foundation is to support literary and educational endeavors, we are always proud to partner with the Fayetteville Public Library,” said Mandy Macke, executive director of the Walker Foundation. “We hope that our donation and the Walker Family Teaching Kitchen will allow even more members of our community to access library resources.

“The Walker Family Teaching Kitchen is an incredible resource for the community,” Johnson said. “Not only does this give the library new opportunities for public programming, but it’s also a great tool for workforce development. An example of this is our partnership with Brightwater and Fayetteville Public Schools which allows high school students to earn an associate degree in culinary arts.

The Walker Family Teaching Kitchen will also host guest chefs, fundraisers, and other nonprofits, and is available to rent for private events.

“The Walker family’s most recent donation brought us close enough to our $23 million goal that we felt it was time to formally ask the community to help FPL complete this chapter,” said Christina. Karnatz, director of development and marketing and communications. “With 37% of our end goal remaining, it will take all of us, one giveaway at a time, to close the gap.”

The expansion opened in January 2021. “It was wonderful to see how the community is using the new spaces,” Karnatz said. “Visit any Saturday and you’ll see the place full of people from all walks of life; We have something for everyone. The goal is to further expand the programming and carry out additional projects, but until the campaign is over, this is not possible.

The Beyond Words campaign began in late 2018 to privately raise the remaining funds needed to complete the $50 million project. A mile passed by Fayetteville citizens in 2016 provided the additional $27 million.

For more information or to make a pledge or donation, visit faylib.org/foundation.

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