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 $225 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

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 Library in different ways.

The Foundation acts as the “fundraising arm” of the Library. If you want to support the Library with a donation to build the collection or provide Library programs, you may give through the Foundation. We work with the Library to identify the best way donor gifts can enhance the Library and meet the ever-changing needs of the community. Each year, The Foundation provides the Library with approximately $4 million in annual support and funds between 25 and 50 Library initiatives.

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