Royal Credit Union foundation donates to Eau Claire library expansion

Eau Claire Library Endering

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WKBT) — Royal Credit Union’s RCU Foundation has pledged $500,000 toward the $7 million expansion of the Eau Claire public library.

The gift is among the largest the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire has received and brings the project funding to about 81% of the total cost.

The City of Eau Claire is investing $11.5M to revamp the library’s failing mechanical systems while the Story Builder campaign is raising an additional $7M in private funds to expand the
library’s physical space—a long overdue effort to meet the demands of Eau Claire’s evergrowing and evolving population.

Located just blocks from the library, Royal Credit Union’s RCU Foundation strives to create a positive impact in the lives its community members, awarding grant funds to organizations
across Western Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota. Since it launched in 2012, the RCU Foundation has given more than $3 million in gifts and donations. The Foundation carefully evaluates
donation requests according to several criteria, such as community needs, number of people impacted, future sustainability, and demonstrated financial support from a variety of sources.

“The Foundation focuses on large-scale, capital projects that help build community and create the spaces where people come together. Libraries are community gathering places that offer resources for everyone. We are proud to support the expansion of the of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and appreciate the many ways it benefits the Eau Claire community,” said RCU Foundation President John Sackett.

As part of their gift, the RCU Foundation has secured naming rights for the library’s “Dabble Box” hands-on learning lab, allowing for the facility’s significant expansion, providing a much
wider array of STEAM learning opportunities for all ages. Sackett believes these services “will increase creativity and innovation for decades to come.”

The RCU Foundation has also joined forces with the Pablo Foundation and two anonymous donors to challenge the community to match their total gifts of $1.5M before the end of the year.
Construction to upgrade the library’s infrastructure—funded by the city’s $11.5M investment—will begin in the spring of 2021. It’s imperative to raise the additional $7M by the end of the year
so expansion work can happen at the same time.

Library Deputy Director Kimberly Hennings said, “We’re proud to have such generous support from the RCU Foundation. RCU is truly a pillar of this community and especially for Eau
Claire’s downtown area, the place the library calls home. They were a crucial catalyst for downtown’s revitalization, and we’re honored to stand beside them in continuing those efforts.”

Speaking to the importance of the project, Sackett said, “A strong library helps create a strong community. Particularly in our current times, we know that many people are struggling
financially and we all face uncertainties. Libraries can fill vital needs. For example, they provide youth literacy programming and assist job seekers with access to Internet to find and apply for

The library’s expansion plans are designed to enhance core services. For example, an all new third-floor event room will double community engagement space, offering expanded
programming for all ages. Modernized study rooms will help individuals and groups to work, study, and meet. Redesigned shelving and display space will offer unprecedented physical
access. And a new drive-up window will ease materials pickup. Beyond these essential enhancements, the expansion project dovetails perfectly with the city’s upcoming plans to
construct an urban plaza between the library and City Hall.

Anyone interested in learning more about the campaign can visit