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Yachats nonprofit receives $250,000 grant to fund library expansion, remodel

The grant from The Ford Family Foundation of Roseburg is believed to be the largest single private foundation award in city history.


The design by MD Architect + Design of Coburg shows what the remodeled and expanded Yachats Library will look like.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Yachats nonprofit receives $250,000 grant to fund library expansion, remodel” was published originally on June 15, 2023, by, an ArtsWatch Community Partner. ArtsWatch is republishing the piece with permission.

A small but active Yachats nonprofit has received a $250,000 grant to help pay for the expansion and remodel of the city library.

The award from The Ford Family Foundation of Roseburg to Friends of Yachats Library is believed to be the largest single private foundation award in the city’s history.

The Friends group said the grant will push its contribution to the $1 million library project to a total of $450,000.

In addition to the Ford grant, the Yachats nonprofit has received a $150,000 bequest from Marg Petersen of Yachats, and grants from Lincoln County Community Economic Development, Oregon Community Foundation, the Roundhouse Foundation, and the Yachats Lions Club.

“The FoYL have been working on funding for this project for many years,” the group said in announcing the Ford grant. “We have received countless large and small donations from citizens and businesses in the community. We are more than grateful for their generosity.”

The Yachats Library Commission, the city, and various support groups have been working on the expansion idea for at least four years. The city now has a plan, a contractor, and is awaiting the go-ahead from the Oregon Department of State Lands before applying for building permits.


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Commission Chair David Rivinus told YachatsNews that if everything stays on schedule, groundbreaking on the expansion/remodel could occur in late August or the early fall.

“There are so many ways that The Ford Family Foundation grant is helpful,” Rivinus said. “If we’re careful, we have the money to do this job.”

The library has $80,000 in its capital reserve budget and the city has already allocated $338,000 this fiscal year and $300,000 for fiscal 2023-24.  The $1.09 million project includes a complete remodeling of the 49-year-old, 2,400-square-foot structure and adding 1,200 square feet to the east.

Big, big grant

The Ford Family Foundation started in 1957 by Kenneth and Hallie Ford, owners of Roseburg Forest Products, and in 1996 became a nonprofit focused on rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. It has assets of $1.24 billion and awarded $6 million in grants and college scholarships in 2021.

A $250,000 grant is usually the highest it will go on capital projects, said Meredith Howell of Yachats, who wrote the Ford grant application for the library nonprofit.

“What they also look for is local fundraising and other bequests,” Howell said.

Friends of Yachats Library board president Sandy Dunn said the many small donations to the group, regular book sales, and a cadre of volunteers helped convince the Ford foundation that the library had strong support in the community.


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“If it weren’t for the little donations and continued book sales support, there would not be the big donations,” she said.

Friends of Yachats Library became a nonprofit in 2004 to support city library programs and until recently just had a three-member board: Dunn, president; Nancy Lamvik, secretary and eBay sales; and, Maggie Marshall, treasurer. It recently added Sue May, vice president, and Sara Moore, book sales coordinator, to the board.

“We are also lucky to have all the library volunteers eager to take book donations at the library for us and lend their time to help support our book sale events,” the group said in its grant announcement.

The Yachats nonprofit also thanked Dunn, Howell, Rivinus, and former city manager Heide Lambert for their work on the grant and hosting “a site visit with a representative from The Ford Family Foundation and answering a staggering amount of specific questions required to convince the grantor that our project was worthy of their funding.”

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Quinton Smith is editor and publisher of


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