You can mail a check to:
Or, you can go to online to CarnegieCenterLex.org and donate with your credit card ~ it’s quick and secure!
The Carnegie Center empowers people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts.
At its dedication in 1992, guest speaker First Lady Barbara Bush said, “This center is going to reach out to everyone--families, workers, students, and teachers. And that's what communities throughout the nation need to learn to do.” Since then, the Carnegie Center has helped thousands of people from diverse segments of our community meet their learning needs at low or no cost. Scholarships are available for programs with fees, and every scholarship request has been granted.
After Lexington’s Public Library moved to a larger location in 1989, Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler appointed a committee to create a new use for the Carnegie library building. In keeping with the beliefs of the original funder, Andrew Carnegie, the committee designed a community learning and arts center like no other in the country. The center opened in 1992 after an extensive restoration.
In 2017 we celebrate 25 years and are still going strong. The Carnegie Center is a place that children, adults, and families have come to rely on for their learning needs. The center is a nationally-recognized leader in literary arts programming, helping writers become published and authors promote their works. The center is also a regionally-respected leader in education outside the school systems, impacting diverse segments of our community.
The Carnegie Center partners with numerous businesses and groups each year to participate in various programs and projects that share its vision and mission. For example, the center is partnering with Joseph-Beth Booksellers and public libraries in Central Kentucky to offer writing seminars and workshops. The center is the host site for the Kentucky Women Writer's conference every year, and is the physical home of a separate ESL literacy program, Operation Read, administered by Bluegrass Community & Technical College.
Among our goals for the current year, we plan to:
With 77% of the Carnegie Center's budget provided by contributions and grants, the center is truly a community center that relies on support of individuals in the community. We need contributions at all levels. Your charitable gift makes a difference at programs such as the free Family Fun and Learning Nights, deeply discounted graphic design skills workshops, top-notch writing seminars, and more.
With a small, full-time staff planning and administering programs, volunteer support is instrumental to making our programs a success; approximately 500 people volunteer each year. Our largest volunteer need is in the afterschool tutoring program, impacting children grades K-12 who are scoring behind grade level in school in reading, writing, or math. We also serve ESL families (children and adults). Other volunteers assist with gallery receptions, author reading events, general cleaning/yard work, fundraising, and other areas.
In-kind donations are greatly appreciated. We especially could use gently used books for children and adults (no textbooks, please) so that we can give them to people who visit the center--including low income families who may not have many books of their own. During warm weather months, the Carnegie Center Reading Room in Triangle Park lets visitors of all ages stop in to read or pick up a free book from the shelves in the park. Office supplies and tutoring games/materials also make a difference.
If you own a business, there may be many ways you can help--just ask us! From sponsorships to donations to group volunteer projects, we work with you to make your Carnegie Center experience a memorable one, impacting people of all ages and backgrounds. The benefit to your company is successful brand awareness and providing a powerful impact on the community through our nonprofit.
When I was preparing to leave a very active role with Women Leading Kentucky, I knew I needed to get involved with an organization I had a passion for. There was no question for me; it had to be the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Its vision of empowering the community through imaginative learning and the literary arts is carried out every day: through tutoring youngsters in reading, writing and math, to providing writing classes with extraordinary teachers, to celebrating Kentucky writers, and extending its literary education through public libraries and bookstores throughout the region. Most of all, I love and have benefited from the writing classes as I worked and reworked the stories for my memoir, A Willful Child, which was published in 2012. It was a dream of mine and I don't think I would have accomplished that dream without the support of the staff, students and volunteers at the Carnegie Center. My heart belongs to the Carnegie Center and I'm very proud to support its efforts, its staff and volunteers as they work to build a better, more vibrant community that supports imaginative learning and the literary arts.
Janet Steele Holloway
The Carnegie Center empowers people to explore and express their voices through imaginative learning and the literary arts. Guiding us in this mission are visionary goals. We seek to encourage active, critical, and creative learning as we promote the components of literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and technology). We strive to provide educational opportunities for people of all ages and levels of learning. We also support and promote Kentucky writers and artists, and we offer programs that engage the imagination through literary arts. Preserving and enhancing the historic Carnegie building for the benefit of the community is important, as our welcoming atmosphere means as much to the community as our programs. In all that we do, we know that we can’t do it alone; we will establish partnerships with artists, educators, and community groups as we go about our mission.
In order to fulfill our mission, to follow Best Practices in nonprofit administration, and to expand and prepare our programs for future needs, the Board and Staff have outlined the following goals in our Strategic Plan:
1. Expand and diversify programming to meet the needs/interests of a broader client base.
2. Expand programs, activities, and recognition in the literary arts so that the Carnegie Center is recognized in Kentucky and nationally as the Literary Capital of Mid-America.
3. Use partnerships to increase the impact of Carnegie Center programs and activities.
4. Establish a Carnegie Center marketing plan.
5. Create a useable, attractive and “green” building for programs and activities.
6. Continue to pursue ways to establish a self-sustaining financial position.
7. Build the organizational capacity, and strengthen the capacity of the Board, to effectively fulfill the mission of the Carnegie Center.
One of the reasons the Carnegie Center received an inaugural MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Award was because we “provide art with a cause: literacy.” In all that we do, we strive to do the best we can to help people of all ages and backgrounds with their learning needs.
To meet our goals, a Strategic Planning Committee identified a number of strategies that will be undertaken by staff and/or by board members. For each of our strategies, we identified what actions need to be taken, the resources needed, a time frame for completion, who will initiate, and a benchmark for accomplishment. Our current Strategic Plan spans 2012-2017.
To ensure that programs are possible, we identified marketing and funding strategies. When establishing a marketing plan, we will consider branding, the use of social media and web-based marketing, and interactions with media professionals and elected officials. Strategies regarding funding involve donor cultivations, continuing a planned giving program, seeking new funding sources through rentals, and training our board on ways they can be involved with fundraising, among other strategies.
To best use our space and to preserve/enhance our building, a few of our strategies are to investigate energy-efficiency projects and employ green practices where possible, as well as seek preservation grants to restore the windows and other areas of the building.
We will ensure that our staff and board positions are the most effective as we work toward our mission by using strategies that update job descriptions and salary ranges, committee descriptions, plans for board/committee appointments, etc.
The #1 resource we need to accomplish our goals is staff time and expertise. In some cases—such as program planning—we already have a staff person who routinely performs the strategies outlined in our plan. In other situations, staff would need to perform new tasks, such as our marketing director who will now need to allocate some of her time to develop a marketing plan. Overall, where qualified staff are concerned, we are prepared to take on these strategies.
The second most mentioned resource was funding for strategies listed in all of our goals. We will address that resource need as we work toward goal #6 with our fundraising efforts.
The board and staff feel confident that we can meet our resource needs.
To determine if we have met our goals through the outlined strategies, our Strategic Planning Committee determined benchmarks for accomplishment. Those benchmarks, as outlined in our Strategic Plan, include a variety of outcomes. Those included but are not limited to:
We’ve made good progress toward the goals in our Strategic Plan. We have created and adopted a new mission statement, unveiled the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, completed a fundraising campaign, and completed a thorough overview of staff, board, and committee descriptions, just to name a few. Several of our strategies are ongoing or in progress, such as establishing new partnerships, building relationships with the media and our constituents, determining potential green renovations, and renting the building during time frames without programming in every room.
As a result of all that we’re doing, we’re identifying new constituents, meeting the learning needs of more people, and making a broader community impact. Through this process, we’ve learned that we are doing much better at employing “best practices” than even we realized, and that with the small staff of the Carnegie Center, we can reach far through the help of volunteers and program partners.
Children and their families look forward
to coming to the Carnegie Center. Each year, more than 3,000 people
participate in children's and family programs that encourage families to learn
together or children to benefit from learning new things. The year-round
tutoring program for grades K-12 provides weekly one-on-one tutoring sessions
for children who need help with reading, writing, or math. Children found that learning can be fun in educational
workshops involving reading, writing, math, and other topics, and Camp Carnegie's half-day summer camps provide high quality, academic enrichment activities in a
fun, fast-paced environment. Family Fun and Learning Nights offer free dinner
and learning activities that the entire family can enjoy, all based around a
central theme. The Carnegie Center also offers outreach programs in local
schools, often providing free books and connecting children with published
authors. Of our overall children's and family program participants, 68% come from
low income homes, and 64% are minorities. A majority of program expenses are
funded by grants and community contributions, as nearly all of the children's and
family programs are offered at no cost. For those programs with a minimal fee,
scholarships are available for all children from low income families.
Each season, we offer a new line-up of workshops in writing, world languages, graphic design, business topics, and others. One-on-one writer mentoring is offered year-round for the individual hoping to someday be published, as well as the person wanting to update her resume or demonstrate better writing skills on the job. Professional development seminar topics include marketing and grantwriting topics. Some of our workshop take place at outreach locations, including library branches, bookstores, and the local senior citizen center. Our annual writing conference features nationally-recognized authors. We serve 1,400 adults in these programs. A majority of revenue comes from grant funds and contributions so that we can hire qualified instructors while maintaining affordable fees. Scholarship rates are given to every person in need.
The cornerstone of the Center’s arts engagement programs are literary arts programs, and we promote Kentucky writers through all that we do. The Kentucky Great Writers series and other literary readings take place throughout the year, and our annual Carnegie Center Book Fair during Mayfest helps self-published and small press authors to promote their books. We help emerging writers become noticed through writing contests in a variety of forms and genres. The center is the home site for the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and is used for some book launches by local authors and publishers. Many art programs are family-friendly and some specifically target children, such as our Youth Meeting Authors program. The Center participates in six local Gallery Hops to promote visual arts, and also incorporates musical and theatrical performances into other programs such as Carnegie Classics. Last fiscal year, we provided free art admission to more than 8,000 people, thanks to support from grant funds and contributions from the community.
Youth & Family Programs
During the 25 years of the tutoring program’s existence, thousands of students have been touched. One parent shared with us, “My daughter enjoys sharing what happens each tutoring day. Thanks so much for being there when families need your guidance and support.” Another said, “It has improved my daughter’s grades at school. I am glad I found out about this program.”
We offer writing, world languages, and professional development topics for adults. One student said, “I enjoyed the one-on-one intimate teaching style. She really made the class practical for each student," and another reported, “the instructor was very informative and explained in a manner I could understand.”
Our Books-in-Progress Conference continues to receive great reviews from attendees. “What a vibrant and empowering atmosphere! The presenters were so competent and accommodating at the same time. It felt like home…if home is populated by writing geniuses,” said one attendee.
The Kentucky Great Writers Series is one of our most popular arts engagement programs. One attendee said, “This series supports my writing life, it affirms me, it inspires me.” Being part of the series has become a benchmark for writing quality. “It's an honor to be included and will certainly be a bonus as I build my writing career,” said author Angela Correll.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
We are committed to demonstrating fiscal responsibility. As a Kentucky Nonprofit Network Best Practices Partner, we follow the best practices for fiscal control, responsibility, and ethical standards as outlined by KNN’s team of nonprofit experts. Our financial policies cover such topics as travel expense, use of credit cards, review of the budget, reimbursements, financial records, employee benefits, determination of salary, and conflicts of interest. The center’s Finance Committee has on-line access to all bank statements, and members of the committee regularly inspect records and receipts related to expenditures. The Carnegie Center uses a private accounting firm for payroll, accounts payable, tax payments, and preparation of financial statements. The board reviews financial reports at each of its meetings. The center has an independent audit performed every year by a separate accounting firm.
We believe in a carefully-managed, diversified funding approach. To fund the Carnegie Center’s operations, we seek grant support, contributions from annual givers and major donors, in-kind support of items or time, and planned gifts. We do not rely much on fundraising events, which is identified on the "Fundraising" line item in our annual audits. We invest surplus funds in short-term CDs.
The center has also undertaken two multi-annual fundraising campaigns in the last decade. The most recent was a multi-year annual fundraising campaign during FY12-FY13 that raised $1.35 million to help cover program costs from 2012-2014. As part of our campaign, we established a scholarship fund to help us cover the increase in contract program instructors and featured artists as we grow our programs; a majority of our arts programs are offered with free admission, and scholarships are available to workshops with fees.
Funds raised as multi-year pledges (such as $30,000 payable over three years) are recorded in the year in which the gift was pledged. In subsequent years, the funds continue to come in ($10,000/year) though are not recorded as new contributions or pledges. Our financials may show a deficit when in fact we are spending funds as they arrive. Hence, our current fiscal year’s board-approved budget shows an anticipated deficit because we have an accrual method of accounting. The Carnegie Center’s funding is stable; we have 3-4 months of operating in reserve which we intend to maintain in case of future economic downturns impacting our donors and community. In 2016, the centered opened an endowment at the Blue Grass Community Foundation.
Through the support of the community, we’re able to offer opportunities to people of all ages and socioeconomic statuses so that no one is prevented an opportunity to learn or to participate.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507