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Mill Valley City Council Releases Funds from 2016 Bequest to the Mill Valley Library

PRESS RELEASE - Mill Valley City Council Releases Funds from 2016 Bequest to the Mill Valley Library Foundation, to Further Support Sustainable Funding for the Mill Valley Public Library

Transfer of a portion of the Zimmer bequest enables Foundation endowment to begin annual payout of grants to the Library in July 2019.

The Mill Valley City Council and the Mill Valley Library Foundation Board are pleased to announce the transfer of $350,000 to the Foundation to accelerate achievement of its goal to activate an endowment that will support the Library's free, award-winning programming in perpetuity.

In 2016, Council accepted the original bequest of $661,419 from the Zimmer Family Living Trust, and in late 2018, Council authorized the execution of a Library Funding Support Agreement with the Foundation. On January 4, 2019, the Foundation received $350,000 of this bequest and concurrently implemented an Endowment Spending Policy that will begin annual payout of grants to the Library starting in July.

“Crossing over our endowment into a perpetual payout mode is a major milestone for our 36-year old Foundation. The City’s transfer of a part of the Zimmer family’s generous legacy to the Library, allowing us to accelerate this milestone, demonstrates a unique public-private partnership here in Mill Valley,” Andrew Shapiro, Mill Valley Library Foundation Board Chair/President said. “From this solid base, we hope to further grow our endowment, and the vital sustainable support it provides our Library, in the years to come when government budgets might not be able to do so.”

The formalization of the Foundation’s endowment will provide for annual grants to the Library in perpetuity, supporting a range of superb and popular programs, including After Hours, technology equipment and classes and programs for young children and teens, as well as select capital improvements. The Foundation’s first annual grant from the endowment will be made in July for the Library’s 2019-2020 fiscal year and, based on a Spending Policy approved by the Foundation’s board, approximate $65,000.

Over the course of 2018, the Mill Valley Public Library offered more than 1,400 free programs attended by 44,000 adults, teens and children. In 2015, Library Journal, a trade magazine focused on the library community, named the Mill Valley Public Library a finalist for Best Small Library in America, an honor that recognizes the creativity, excellence, breadth and range of free programming offered by the Library.

“The Foundation has worked with the City for nearly two years to achieve this transfer, the benefits of which will be enormous and lasting for our Library and community," Mill Valley Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters said. "Endowing this vital resource ensures our Library will remain the gem that it is for decades to come.”

The Mill Valley Public Library has an annual budget of $2.6 million and is funded primarily through tax revenues. The Library enjoys the strong support of two separate, but complementary, non-profit organizations: the Mill Valley Library Foundation and the Friends of the Mill Valley Library. The Friends and the Foundation contribute nearly $180,000 a year of private funding, enabling a level of excellence beyond what tax-based funding can provide.

The Foundation will continue its fundraising efforts, including community events such as its “Storybook Ball” and “Beyond The Book Bash” and an annual year-end appeal, to further grow its endowment. This year, the Foundation is also rolling out a legacy giving program to directly accept and manage gifts similar to the Zimmer bequest. As the Foundation’s endowment grows, the amount of annual grant support to the Library for its future needs will also grow.

“Funding from the Mill Valley Library Foundation and generous donors like John Zimmer allow the Library to offer more interesting and robust programming than would otherwise be possible,” City Librarian Anji Brenner said. “A consistent level of funding from the Foundation, along with the Friends of the Library’s annual donation, ensures that the Mill Valley Public Library can continue to innovate and offer programs our patrons appreciate and have come to expect.”

About the Mill Valley Library Foundation

Created in 1983, the Mill Valley Library Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer organization with a growing endowment that provides critical support to the Mill Valley Public Library, to ensure its award-winning cultural, educational and technology programs continue to engage and enrich our community, now and in the future.

About the Mill Valley Public Library

Built in 1966 (but originally opened in 1911 at a different location), the Mill Valley Public Library is a Marin treasure, reflecting the diverse intellectual and cultural interests of the community. Its physical setting—nestled in the redwoods overlooking Old Mill Park, with a wood burning fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows—celebrates the natural landmarks associated with Mill Valley. The Library serves a population of 15,000 with nearly 10,000 cardholders, has a collection of nearly 320,000 items (print and digital), welcomes 230,000 visitors per year and offers more than 1,400 free programs annually.


For Further Information


Andrew Shapiro, Chair/President, Mill Valley Library Foundation City of Mill Valley,, 415-389-4292 X4753

Stephanie Moulton-Peters, Mayor,, (415) 388-4033


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