The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries (LBF) announced about $1 million in 2013 grants earlier this month. 212 schools across the US received $5,000 each to "update and diversify their library book collections," according to their press release. By the most recent estimation, the latest round of gifts brings the foundation's grand donation total to $10.5 million in giving since its inception. This may not sound like a lot compared to the money thrown around by some of the nation's big league foundations. But as far as foundations dedicated solely to helping out public libraries go, Bush’s is among the largest.
This most recent round of funds made it to virtually every state and American territory including Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The overwhelming majority of the libraries this foundation funded, however,are based in Texas, California, Florida, Illinois or Georgia. As 2010, 2011 and 2012 press releases show, LBF tends to pick a new secondary area of focus for its grant making each year, but Bush’s home state of Texas consistently receives the largest percentage of grants per-state.
Within those states, the grant making also concentrates on lower income areas.
Through their Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative, LBF also showed a commitment to supporting disaster relief for libraries. In the wake of hurricanes Catrina, Rita and Wilma, the foundation put together a fund devoted specifically to helping re-build afflicted libraries.
LBF’s disposable income is provided by a series of large gifts from other various funds and endowments including the Claire Gianni Fund and the AT&T Foundation, according to Milliondollarlist.org.
According to CNN’s biographical brief on Laura Bush, she’s been an enthusiast of books and libraries for a while. Bush earned a Master of Science in Library Science at University of Texas and has experience as both a public librarian and as an elementary school teacher. The former first lady got involved with child literacy in 1995. She started the Texas Book Festival, that year. She founded the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries in 2002.
Sound good? LBF's site recommends you contact Bush directly for more information on applying for a grant.