Endowment Funds

Each of these endowments and named funds (smaller funds within an endowment) work together to accomplish two important goals: assisting with providing library service now and in the future, and recognizing and remembering those the funds honor.


hari jones

Hari Jones Memorial Fund

Established in 2019, the Hari Jones Memorial Fund supports the expansion of the Hari Jones: Hidden Histories Program Series and Collection. Harold (Hari) Jones was a writer, lecturer, historian, curator, and motivational speaker. He was one of the foremost authorities on the role of African Americans in the Civil War. The Library has partnered with the Dauphin County Commissioners to create a carefully curated, permanent Hidden Histories collection and program series that celebrates the life and work of visionary historian, Hari Jones. Both the program series and collection have been designed to foster ongoing community dialogue, discussion and discernment.


Light the Way to Learning Endowment

Income from this fund provides general operating assistance to the library system, from buying quality books and research tools, to providing regular storytimes and making public computers available. Use of the income from the fund is flexible within the library’s general operating budget and so the fund is a great choice for those who want to help secure library service for future generations and recognize that library needs will change over time. This fund helps make sure the library is open, now and in the future, lighting the way to learning for people of all ages.

rich bowra

The Rich Bowra Fund

Honoring Executive Director Rich Bowra’s 41 years of service (30 as Executive Director), this fund supports the Light the Way to Learning fund and general operations of The Library. Rich implemented a variety of innovative community services – from expanding early childhood education programming to most recently reinstating an aggressive and creative slate of programs for adults. He led the system through a number of successful capital campaigns and oversaw an ambitious facilities improvement plan that resulted in the building of 3 new libraries and the renovation and upgrade of 4 others. Upon retirement, he asked that donations to The Library endowment fund be made in lieu of gifts. This fund was set up in his honor with thanks for his dedicated service.

2nd century

2nd Century Funds

These funds were established in 2015 as part of the 2nd Century Campaign to allow donors to direct endowment gifts and establish named funds that support library service for specific geographic areas of the county.

  • The East Shore Area Library Service Fund
  • The City of Harrisburg Library Service Fund
  • The Hummelstown Area Library Service Fund
  • The Northern Dauphin Library Service Fund

sara haldeman

Torchbearers: The Sara Haldeman Haly and Alice R. Eaton Fund

Established in 2016 by a gift from Karen Cullings in honor of The Library’s Founder and its first Librarian, this fund is used to fund library programs and services, with a special emphasis on resources for and about women.

childrens fund

The Children’s Endowment (Jean E. Pugh)

Established by the library system in 2010 in honor of Jean E. Pugh, this fund supports children’s library services throughout the county. Ms. Pugh was a longtime Harrisburg resident, a teacher in the Harrisburg School District, a supporter of the library and was invested in the education of children. Born February 25, 1910 in Harrisburg, she was a graduate of the Harrisburg school system and West Chester University, and did her graduate work at Temple University. After she received her degree, she pursued a long career as a grade-school teacher in the Harrisburg School District. In honor of her commitment to children and education, the library system has established this fund from her generous bequest.

carole desoto

The Carole DeSoto Endowment

Established in 2006 by Carole DeSoto, this fund’s purpose is to provide support for the Elizabethville Library Lively Minds Series. The series is dedicated to providing the residents of northern Dauphin County with opportunities for lifelong learning. It provides three or more free programs each year that cover such topics as computer skills, hobbies, genealogy, local history and more.


marilynn kanenson

The Marilynn R. Kanenson Endowment

Established by The Library in memory of Marilynn R. Kanenson, this endowment fund supports library service for the uptown Harrisburg area. In 1967, Marilynn led a movement to save library branches in Harrisburg being threatened by funding shortages. She was passionate about all the libraries, particularly the one then in the Uptown Plaza. The libraries remained open and from that time on Marilynn was a strong advocate of library service for our community’s urban residents.

joan leopold

The Joan Y. Leopold Endowment

Established by the family and friends of the late Joan Y. Leopold, this fund is used to plan and implement an annual celebration of chil­dren’s literature, the “Joan Y. Leopold Children’s Book Week Celebration.” The highlight of the celebration, designed to encourage a love of reading, is the opportunity for children in the The Library service area to meet inspiring children’s authors and/or illustrators at the library and to engage with quality children’s literature.

margaret wilson

Margaret Wilson Masters Endowment

Established in 2006 when Frank L. Masters, Jr. dissolved the charitable remainder trust founded by his father, Frank M. Masters,this fund is used to maintain the historic original library building at 101 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA.

m jean sneeder

The M. Jean Sneeder Endowment

Established by The Library as a result of the bequest of M. Jean Sneeder, this fund provides for the purchase of books and other resources for the Johnson Memorial Library’s general collection. M. Jean Sneeder was a resident of Millersburg and enjoyed using the Johnson Memorial Library.

katherine m and joseph f myers

The Katherine M. and Joseph H. Myers Endowment

Established by The Library with a bequest from Katherine M. Myers, this fund is used to provide scholarships in the form of reimbursement of tuition, conference, or association membership costs for The Library employees seeking continuing education. The Library is committed to assisting staff in education and training that will enhance their ability to be eligible for promotion. This fund aids in that goal. Katherine was employed by The Library System from 1953 until 1981, with her last position being that of Associate Director. During her tenure, The Library grew from a one-facility library to a full-fledged library system. Her husband, Joseph H. Myers, was employed by Commonwealth Libraries and served as the head of state aid to public libraries. Both valued the important role that continuing education plays in the development of library staff. That commitment lives on through this special staff fund.

henry and dottie swartz

The Henry & Dottie Swartz Endowment 

Henry and Dottie Swartz began their volunteer service at what was then the Colonial Park Library, a small branch housed in the Colonial Park Plaza. At the time, neither they nor The Library knew their service would extend an amazing 40 years. In the course of their long and dedicated volunteering, Henry, an engineer with AMP, and his wife Dorothy (Dottie) became mainstays of the library’s operations. Henry was known to all as the book mending “wizard,” while Dottie performed a multitude of duties, from evaluating books for the collection or the Friends of the Library book sale, to identifying gaps in the library collection, weeding outdated items from the shelves and pulling items in need of mending to pass along to Henry. Together they saw the expansion of the Colonial Park Library into the East Shore Area Library, now the largest and busiest in the system. This fund in their honor was established in 2007 when Dottie’s generous bequest was received. The fund is used to purchase collection materials for the East Shore Area Library so near and dear to the Swartzes.

kathryn witmer

The Kathryn Witmer Sandel Endowment 

Kathryn Witmer Sandel was one of the founders of the Hummelstown Community Library started in 1953. She was the first librarian at that location, serving there from 1953 to 1960. Her husband, George Sandel, served as Board President of the Hummelstown Community Library in the late 1960s. Kathryn’s family wanted to remember her in a special way when she passed away in 1992, so they started this fund in her name. The fund is used solely to purchase materials for the library in Hummelstown, now a new facility in which the Librarian’s Office is named in honor of Kathryn and George. Each item purchased from this fund bears a bookplate or sticker recognizing Kathryn and her efforts.

linda wettarau

Linda V. Wetterau Endowment

Established by The Library in memory of Linda V. Wetterau, this fund is used to purchase up-to-date materials and provide online resources for local residents seeking employment or ongoing job training.

m jean sneeder

Judith & Morton Cohen Endowment

Judith Cohen founded this fund in 2017 to support the Born to Read program and related early learning initiatives at The Library.  Advocates of literacy and learning, the Cohens have a long history of using and supporting The Library. Judith still regularly visits today and enjoys seeing her fund at work providing early learning opportunities to young families in her community.


Benjamin Olewine III Endowment

This fund was established in 2017 in recognition of Mr. Olewine’s longstanding support of public library service to our community. During his lifetime, Mr. Olewine provided the naming gift for the Anna M. Rintz Community Room, in memory of his aunt, at the library in Hummelstown, and the lead building and naming gift for the Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library in uptown Harrisburg, in memory of his mother. In addition, he funded many other projects, including the MARCO outreach van.

Mr. Olewine’s generosity to his fellow man is legendary in our community. One particular example that involved The Library was the publication of a newspaper article reporting that the campaign to build the new library in uptown Harrisburg was short of goal. Upon seeing the article, Mr. Olewine picked up the phone and called to pledge the remainder needed to complete the campaign.

Unfailingly gracious and generous to the end, Mr. Olewine’s bequest allowed The Library to establish this fund in his memory. In doing so we recognize not just his support of library service, but the longstanding and generous support he and his family have provided throughout the Harrisburg area. This fund provides operating support for the two libraries Mr. Olewine provided lead gifts for, the Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library in uptown Harrisburg and the William & Marion C. Alexander Family Library in Hummelstown, PA.

childrens fund

The Michael and Eileen Emanuel Fund

Established in 2022 by Michael and Eileen Emanuel, this fund provides for the purchase and provision to the public of nationally and internationally recognized/award-winning literature and films for audiences aged 18 and older . The materials will begin their circulation at the East Shore Area Library. Initial priority is given to selecting films in DVD format and books in print and eBook format, with the understanding that as formats become unavailable, the most accessible formats for lending items will be purchased. Enjoying their local libraries growing up, Michael and Eileen are pleased to continue that enjoyment in supporting their local library.

Vision Realized

The Library is honored to be entrusted with the vision and memory of many library supporters through bequests and planned gifts. Endowment fund earned income (interest and dividends) is used to fund services. The principal of each endowment and fund remains invested. A permanent endowment fund at The Library is a thoughtful and effective means of preserving your legacy or that of a loved one by providing for the future of library service in your community.

Vision realized

To learn more about realizing your charitable giving vision, please call Karen Cullings at (717) 234-4961, ext. 1105.