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$125K approved for Lincoln collection

City Council OKs tax revenue for endowment.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 10:46 am

The city will use $125,000 in income tax revenue both this year and next to provide financial support to the Friends of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection to permanently protect and manage the collection from the defunct Lincoln Museum.

City Council's 7-0 approval of a resolution in committee session Tuesday evening paves the way for a final vote on the bill sometime in the near future.

Former Lincoln National Corp. CEO Ian Rolland and Allen County Public Library Director Jeff Krull sought the money from the city as part of a fundraising effort to amass an endowment of $12 million.

Rolland said council's vote would set an example in the public and private contribution process, which he said has been under way for a while. Rolland said the foundation has received $980,000 in cash and $2.2 million in pledges.

More than $5 million in pending requests is due, and he's confident a significant portion of it will be collected. He added that collection in the private sector is ongoing and he's about to start a statewide fundraising campaign.

“The majority of the money is from Fort Wayne,” Rolland said. “This thing has been accepted beyond my expectations here.”

The ACPL and Indiana State Museum currently possess the collection from the museum, which closed at 200 E. Berry St. in Fort Wayne in June 2008. After seven months of deliberation and bidding, the estimated $20 million, 230,000-piece collection was awarded to the ACPL and Indiana State Museum.

The library holds most of the documents, such as books, photographs and writings from the United States' 16th president. The plan is to digitize every document so they are accessible by computer from anywhere in the world.

Krull said digitizing the library's 10,000 genealogical documents has helped the library become one of the country's best genealogical resources.

The state museum owns most of the artifacts and “three-dimensional” objects, Rolland said.

The endowment will also pay for things like ongoing conservation of original documents, annual salaries for two former Lincoln Museum librarians who are currently on the library's payroll, and expositions and events.

Rolland said the Indiana State Museum is in the early stages of developing a fundraising campaign and he's confident in its efforts, noting it has devoted personnel and resources to the cause.

“This is a commitment to collaboration,” he said.

Rolland said he's made a significant private contact in Indianapolis and is yet to contact the city of Indianapolis for funds.

Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, and Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, said they'd like to see the foundation work with local schools and colleges for educational programs.