Ryerson Library Foundation

Ryerson Library Foundation

In the early 1990’s, the Grand Rapids Public Library had substantial needs within the system.  Four of its branches needed to be replaced, while two others were in need of extensive upgrades and expansion.  MAI was contracted to carry out a community wide feasibility study to assess the local climate for a project that could run close to $30 million.  The results of the study showed significant support for the Library System, but skepticism on the use of and potential of raising private support for a public entity.  The resulting funding equation suggested by the Study Report sought private support complementing a bond/millage proposal.

One of the elements that provided an impetus for private support was the renovation and expansion of the Ryerson Library Building, the downtown “flagship” of the System.  Working with the Ryerson Library Foundation, MAI helped craft and implement an $8 million campaign as part of the $31.5 million project.  The private support and interest in the project helped insure a successful bond/millage proposal.  In the end, a historically significant building was given a new life as it was melded into a more modern 20th Century library facility.