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What is the Library Foundation?

The Olathe Public Library Foundation is a component fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, established for the purpose of enhancing facilities, providing books, and adding other services for the Olathe Public Library System.

Why Does the Library Have a Foundation?

Public funds make libraries possible, but it is private gifts that make them flourish. The Olathe Public Library Foundation was established to ensure the library system remains a vital community resource.

The foundation's purpose is to provide a long-term supplemental funding program to assist in providing those services not available through traditional tax-base funding.

How Does the Foundation Support the Library System?

Donations are invested and the interest is used for the benefit of the library system. Foundation contributions may result in funds to offset some of the costs of library system automation, expansion of reference and circulating collections, programming, and assistance for the disabled.

The Foundation has provided $226,104 in grants to the Olathe Public Library since it was founded in 2000.  Grants are awarded annually at the Foundation's "A Taste of Literacy" dinner. 

Funding the Future Campaign

Olathe is recognized as one of the best places to live in the nation and every great community needs a great library. The new Indian Creek Library will provide more opportunities to serve a vibrant community with multiple innovative spaces for cultural and educational events. This creates a greater need for funding beyond the tax base. The Library Foundation Board recognizes this need and is looking to the community to help grow our endowment to meet the library needs in the future.  

I would like to contribute to the Funding the Future Campaign 

2020 Foundation Grants 

$34,750 in grants will be used in 2020 for the following areas: 

  • Adult Summer Reading Program - $2,500 – ongoing support for adult summer reading promotion and incentives as well as costs for programming, supplies and presenters
  • Children’s Summer Reading Program - $6,500 – ongoing support for children’s summer programs, activities and books to give away to participants
  • Teen Summer Reading Program - $2,500 – ongoing support for the teen summer programs, activities and incentives (increase of $1,500 over 2019)
  • Library To You Summer Reading Program - $500 – establishment of funding for summer reading promotion and incentives for the library’s homebound program
  • Video games for IC gaming room $2,000 – new games and virtual reality equipment for gaming stations
  • Portable Stage System for IC events space - $6,150 – used for library and public events
  • Music programming for the new Indian Creek Library - $2,000 – concert programming will increase
  • Teen Programming Island - $5,000 – permanent furniture item for teen programming area to conduct programs and demonstrations
  • Laptops for Makerspace - $7,600 – for coding and design classes, includes hardware and software


How Can I Contribute to the Foundation?

There are numerous ways to make a contribution to the foundation:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation.
  • Make a contribution in memory or in honor of a friend or relative.
  • Donate property, investments and/or insurance policies.
  • Include the foundation in your will.

Contributions are cumulative and contributors will be recognized at the annual dinner. For further information, please contact Julie Clark at 913-971-6878 or

Contributions can be made payable to the Olathe Public Library Foundation and mailed along with the donor form to 201 E. Park, Olathe, KS 66061.

The IRS recognizes the Olathe Public Library Foundation as a 501(c)(3) organization, making all charitable gifts to the foundation tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Your contribution is important! Continuing contributions are necessary to assist the library system in achieving excellence. A gift to the foundation is a gift of knowledge to the community.

Foundation Board

  • Eirene Knott, Chair
  • Gregg Herbert, Vice-Chair
  • Julie Clark, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Lori Franklin
  • Tracy Hiesberger
  • Colette McGee
  • Mahta Millerlile
  • Susan Sherman
  • Hector Silva

Olathe Library Foundation's Story

Olathe resident Cliff Tatham served for many years on the Olathe Public Library Board. Cliff and his wife, Elaine, felt the need to provide funding for the library programs that would not exist without private donations. In 2000, Cliff started a community wide fundraising campaign to provide funding for these programs. Their initial campaign was to raise $10,000 which would be matched by a $10,000 donation from him and Elaine. Being just shy of this goal, he approached R. R. Osborne, who gave the foundation $10,000. In 2002, the R. R. Osborne estate gave the foundation $100,000 and the foundation gave its first grant of $20,000 to the library for the establishment of the music CD collection at both library locations.

The foundation held its first “A Taste of Literacy” dinner in the fall of 2003. The dinner serves to thank donors and raise awareness about the library and its needs. Annual fundraising has been successful and has added to the foundation’s largesse. The foundation continues to be administered by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and has proven to be a good partnership. Library grants to enhance library services have been announced in the fall of each year and distributed at the start of the following year.

In 2016, the foundation received a gift from the estate of Olathe resident Maron Moore. A total of $281,250 was deposited in the foundation’s account without fanfare or publicity. The foundation is very grateful to Maron for the quiet but generous gesture on her part and her estate. Co-founder Cliff Tatham, after many years of service to the library, passed away in March of 2017. Memorial donations were received for the foundation. The 2017 “A Taste of Literacy” was dedicated in his honor and a proclamation from Olathe’s mayor spotlighted Cliff’s longtime work for the library and financial support thereof.

Looking ahead to the opening of the new Indian Creek Library, it was decided to host an open house event with a children’s author and invite adults, teens and children.  Prior to the event the foundation launched “Funding the Future” which served as the 2019 fundraising theme with a more direct appeal to individuals and corporations.   The appeal proved successful; however, it was also during this time that foundation co-founder Elaine Tatham passed away.  Memorials were received by the foundation and Elaine will be honored at the 2020 “A Taste of Literacy”.