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The 577 Foundation’s book center and “honor system” have led to $300,000 of fund-raising split between local nonprofits and Read for Literacy since it began in 1991.
The book center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg with thousands of reading materials. The public can browse and take books, putting donations in a bucket. All books have been donated to the foundation.
“I get a call everyday of people asking what books we accept,” said Jay Wagoner, 577 Foundation assistant director. “Some people will leave with a box of 10 to 15 books and come back a few weeks later donating the books back and taking another box full.”
Suggested donations are $1.50 for hardbacks, $0.50 for children’s hardbacks, $0.50 for paperbacks, a quarter for children’s paperbacks, and a dime for magazines. That is where the funding to the nonprofit organizations come in.
Each year Mr. Wagoner gets applications from 12 to 15 nonprofits seeking to operate the center for three months in return for half the profits. The other half goes to Read for Literacy.
Such organizations are required to provide a volunteer every other day, spending 10 hours a week to stock books and clean the center.
“A lot of groups that come in are smaller grassroots nonprofits,” Mr. Wagoner said. “I love that. I work directly with them and get to know their mission. Two thousand dollars may not seem like a lot of money, but to smaller organizations it is.”
Such organizations also get a weekend for their own book fair, from which they receive all profits.
“I’ve had groups make $200 to $1,000 those weekends,” Mr. Wagoner said.
Read for Literacy has told Mr. Wagoner the proceeds it receives from the 577 Foundation are $6,000 to $8,000, or about 5 percent of its budget.
He said that Toledo-based organization was picked because 577 Founder Virginia Stranahan favored it.
She started the center when someone asked to have a book sale there in 1991. Books were left over, and the bucket donation system began.
Susan Jones of Perrysburg Christians United said she tries to go to the center daily to help.
“Obviously it is a fund-raiser, but my biggest goal is to get our word out there and let people know if they need it there is help out there,” she said regarding letting people know about their food pantry.
When Perrysburg Christians United holds its book fair Aug. 3-4, shoppers can take nonperishable food items for the pantry in exchange for books as well as money.
Drawings to select next year’s four nonprofits to operate the book center will be Friday.