Who We Are

The Seattle Public Library Foundation helps the Library build its collection and resources, offer programs for patrons of all ages and better serve the needs of our community. We do this by securing and managing donations from individuals, businesses and foundations to support the Library above and beyond what public funding provides.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation 501(c)(3) established in 1980 and governed by a volunteer board of directors. A professional staff raises and administers gifts and ensures the effectiveness of funded programs.

Since its founding, The Seattle Public Library Foundation has raised more than $165 million for the Library to support:

  • Building new and revitalized libraries in every neighborhood.
  • Programming for children, teens, and adults.
  • Books and resources, including funding for special collections.
  • Services for those with special needs, such as the disabled, immigrants, and refugees.
  • Technology resources for library patrons.


The Foundation is guided by the following values:

  • Integrity – We operate with integrity to build trust and accountability.
  • Partnership – We are stronger when we collaborate with others and we strive for partnerships that deliver long-term value.
  • Equity – We leverage our resources to build an equitable community.
  • Diversity & Inclusion – We are strongest when our board, staff, and donor communities are vibrant and diverse.
  • Innovation – We support innovation and embrace risk to learn and improve.
  • Gratitude – We recognize and show gratitude to those who support and carry out the Library’s mission.
  • Respect – We treat everyone with respect and kindness.

How We’re Different From The Friends Of The Library

Often the Foundation and Friends of the Library are referred to interchangeably. While we work closely, we are two separate non-profit organizations who support The Seattle Public Library in different ways.

The Friends of The Seattle Public Library is a grassroots membership organization dedicated to promoting our Library through well-organized advocacy efforts. They also raise money for the Library through the operations of their book sales and FriendShop at the Central Library.

The Foundation acts as the “fundraising arm” of the Library. If you want to support the Library with a donation, your gift goes to the Foundation. We work with the Library to identify the best way donors gifts can enhance the Library and meet the ever-changing needs of the community.