Champlin Foundation grant of $200,000 helps push Ashaway Free Library close to its goal of a community room

Champlin Foundation grant of $200,000 helps push Ashaway Free Library close to its goal of a community room

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ASHAWAY — A single substantial donation by the Champlin Foundation has brought the Ashaway Free library close to reaching its $250,000 capital campaign objective.

The foundation has approved a grant of $200,000 for the project, which will add a 700-square-foot community room to the library.

“The Champlin Foundation is pleased to provide grant funding to the Ashaway Free Library to help this important institution advance its vital mission,” a statement from the foundation reads. “Champlin Foundation grants are awarded on a competitive basis and our grant to the Ashaway Free Library is a reflection of our confidence in the organization’s ability to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders in significant ways.”

The new community room, designed by Azzinaro Larson Architects, Westerly, is the final goal of a five-year plan, which also involved the renovation and improvement of the library’s existing space.

With its own entrance, the community room will serve as a public meeting space, equipped with a projection screen, window shades, and storage for folding tables and chairs.

Fran Cohen, president of the library’s board of trustees, said she was excited about the Champlin contribution and confident that the community would help the library raise the remaining funds.

“Library expansion in Ashaway is something that happens only every half-century or so, and it’s a major undertaking,” she said. “The Champlin Foundation grant of $200,000 is a giant step towards our construction cost of $250,000 and we are thrilled and grateful for this funding. Rhode Islanders are lucky to have institutions such as the Champlin Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation that support and advance critical community resources such as our village library. We are confident that library fans will help us meet our funding goal and that the new space will serve our community well for generations to come."

The library has been serving the Ashaway community for 145 years and currently has 1,000 members. While lending books and media will remain its core services, the library also provides three computer work stations and high-speed internet service for residents who do not have access at home.

As fundraising for the expansion continues, the library has also adopted a new logo, designed by graphic artist Trish Lapointe of Mystic.

Cohen said the logo incorporated the library’s weathervane and the Hopkinton shield.

“The weathervane in the shape of a quill pen has been on top of the library for years,” she said. “The quill pen is also featured prominently in the Hopkinton town shield/logo because the town is named after Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring. For more information, contact Fran Cohen at



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