Who We Are

The Seattle Public Library Foundation is a nonprofit partner of the Library, providing a way for people who value libraries to contribute financial support and advocate for The Seattle Public Library, enhancing its impact on our community and ensuring its long-term vitality.

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 generated more than $245 million in grants and endowments that help the Library expand its collections, offer innovative programs for people of all ages, and upgrade neighborhood libraries.


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

The Foundation is often referred to interchangeably with the Friends of The Seattle Public Library. But we’re actually two separate nonprofit organizations with distinct roles, while working closely together to support the library.

The Foundation is the library’s fundraising partner. Around 7,000 individual donors, as well as private organizations, help the Foundation support library collections, more than 45 equity-based programs, and branch upgrades each year. All contributions enhance, and do not replace, city-funded services.

The Friends are a membership-based, volunteer-driven community organization that helps spread literacy and elevate the role of the library in the community. The Friends offer a way for individuals to donate books, volunteer to support book programs, and advocate for the library. The Friends have book shops at the Central Library and in Georgetown.

The Foundation and Friends collaborate most directly on advocacy, engaging the community about ways to speak up for our library at events and through the Public Library Action Network (PLAN).