22 Aug 2014
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OPINION: Perry Hall Family's Generosity Enriches Our Libraries

A local family's contribution to help support our public libraries can serve as a model to us all.

OPINION: Perry Hall Family's Generosity Enriches Our Libraries

Last week, I was honored to attend a special ceremony held at the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL). Ron and Patricia Fisher -- who were long-time residents of Perry Hall -- joined members of the Foundation for BCPL to announce a gift of over $11,300 from the Allison E. Fisher Memorial Fund.  The Foundation will add the gift to its endowment fund to support children’s literacy efforts, which was established in 2011. 

This generous gift from the Fisher family will also launch the Margaret Peterson Giving Circle, which consists of those who include the Foundation for BCPL in their estate plans or make a gift of $10,000 or more to the Foundation’s endowment fund. It is named after in her estate plans.

To anyone who knew the Fishers during their days here in Perry Hall, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that this close-knit family has never stopped looking for ways to give back to the community. A particular focus for the family, especially Pat Fisher, has been to help advance the mission and scope of our local public library system. 

In speaking with Pat recently, it became clear that much of the family's interest in libraries can be traced to their daughter Allison. This remarkable woman was, among other things, a 1987 Perry Hall High School honors graduate, a magna cum laude graduate of the American University, and an accomplished local and national television journalist. Tragically, Allison passed away as a result of breast cancer at the age of only 28. 

Proud mother Pat Fisher happily related that "Allison was dedicated to learning and sharing information. She loved her time as an intern with BCPL, and we felt this was an excellent way to continue her legacy of learning and sharing."

It should be clear to all that, through their generous contribution, the Fishers have taken an important step that will help Allison’s memory stay alive. Allison's love of reading and of libraries will continue on, as the Foundation for BCPL works to instill the love of reading in children through their endowment to support children’s literacy efforts. 

Back in 2010, the Foundation for BCPL began planning for a $1 million endowment campaign to support children’s literacy efforts throughout the library system.  Thanks to the generous donations of individuals, businesses, and families like the Fishers of Perry Hall, to date, just over $540,000 in contributions have been designated for this endowment.

Fifth District Baltimore County Councilman David Marks (who also serves on the board of the Foundation for BCPL), made an interesting observation to me after last week's event. Marks noted that "given that government resources are limited these days, contributions to the library's endowment provide the support necessary to keep our library branches thriving." I can think of no better way for an individual or family to leave their mark than by making that kind of a difference.

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