|By Chris Maza|
EAST LONGMEADOW – Link to Libraries was one of 18 organizations to receive a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts on Oct. 30.
Of the $198,000 given out, the volunteer organization that has distributed books to undeserved youth through local elementary school libraries and nonprofit organizations, in the Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke areas since 2008, received $2,500 to help continue its efforts.
“The grant funded by RMHC will allow the organization to continue distributing the essential needs of books and information for improved language and reading skills within these communities,” RMHC said in a press release.
Since 1988, RMHC has provided more than $6 million to more than 400 nonprofit organizations.
Susan Jaye Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries, told Reminder Publications the receipt of grants such as the one through RMHC is critical to the success of the program, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
“We are very fortunate to be able to purchase new books for underserved children of the area with this grant,” she said. “We have no paid staff, so we really depend on private donations and grants and the community and organizations in it have been very generous [sic].”
Kaplan further explained that 78,000 new books have been put in the hands of area children and with the help of volunteers ages 8 to 76, “when we get a grant, it really goes a long way.”
“Because we have no professional staff, 92 cents of every dollar we raise goes toward buying books. That’s one of the highest turnaround rates of any nonprofit entity,” she said, adding the fact that the organization does not have to pay for warehouse space for its books also helps the dollars stretch farther.
Kaplan also praised the strong relationship Link to Libraries has maintained with RMHC and explained keeping close ties with philanthropic organizations is mutually beneficial.
“I think for nonprofits it’s imperative to keep strong bonds and be good community resources for each other,” she said. “We donate books to the Ronald McDonald House as part of our program, so certainly we value having these collaborative efforts.”
For more information on Link to Libraries, call 224-1031 or go to www.linktolibraries.org.
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