The official campaign for the Mother Goose endowment at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library ended Saturday, with “Goose’s Grand Gala” at the Trotter Center.
By the end of the night, the campaign had exceeded $101,000 – about $12,000 generated from the Saturday event. The endowment, named appropriated for Edwina “Mother Goose” Williams will help fund children’s programs at the library for years to come.
In many respects, this was an unusual fund-raising campaign. The five-year, $100,000 effort was reached a full year ahead of schedule and was built almost completely on small donations from individuals.
“I wish we could say we got a lot of $1,000 checks,” noted Anne Freeze, the co-chair of the Friends of the Library, the organization that put together the endowment campaign. “It wasn’t like that. Mostly, they were small donations.”
Like the grandmother, who apologized for her small donation of $13, writing to say she was giving one dollar for each of her children and grandchildren, all of whom grew up rushing into the arms of Mother Goose whenever, wherever she appeared.
There was the little boy, who donated 94 cents – the entire contents of the change jar he kept in his room.
Such was the outpouring of love for Mother Goose, who has enthralled children at the library with her “Story Time with Mother Goose” for more than 30 years now and served as Columbus’s unofficial goodwill ambassador at almost every public event.
The campaign allowed the Friends of the Library not only to pay a well-deserved tribute to Mother Goose, but to bring attention to the role the library plays in our community. This includes not only children’s programs, but providing services many in our community do not have access to.
Any visit to the library will confirm this. The library’s computers are in constant use, usually by people who have no access to computers at home and would be cut off from the larger world were it not for the library.
So, yes, the Mother Goose campaign was unique in those respects.
Yet, in another way, it is more an example of something those of us who have lived here for any length of time understand, even if we are sometimes neglectful of the fact: Columbus is a town of remarkable generosity.
Our troubles and short-comings may be many, it is true. But despite our flaws, we are quick to respond when needs arise, whether it be through giving generously of our resources or time. We see this over and over. A need emerges, we respond.
Other cities may be more affluent. Many seem not to have the struggles that always seem to challenge us. Other cities may seem to have more to be optimistic about.
But the spirit of charity that persists in our town is something that few others can rival.
Columbus is, indeed, The Friendly City, when measured by our response to worthy causes.
It is easy to forget that sometimes.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.