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Gratia Circle

About the Gratia Circle
The Gratia Circle honors individuals who have made a bequest in a will or other planned gift to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library (formerly the Library Foundation of Hennepin County and the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library). The Circle is named for Gratia Countryman, one of the outstanding leaders library directors in the 125 years of public library service in Hennepin County. The Circle’s name also recognizes the generosity of our members, in that it references the Latin phrase, ex gratia, which translates as “to do something voluntarily, out of kindness or grace.”

Gratia Countryman (1866 – 1953)
Gratia Countryman directed the Minneapolis Public Library from 1904 to 1936. She pioneered many ways to make the library more accessible and user-friendly to all residents. Countryman helped increase the library’s scope and reach exponentially, including extending service throughout Hennepin County, which led to the creation of the Hennepin County Library system. Gratia Countryman’s eulogy perfectly summarized her passion for library service:

In her youth, a library was a sacred precinct for guarding the treasures of thought, to be entered only by the scholar and the student… Her crusading zeal carried the book to every part of her city and county, to the little child, the factory worker, the farmer, the businessman, the hospital patient, the blind and the old.

What is a planned gift?
Planned gifts are investments in the future of an organization that you truly believe in and value. Planned gifts may take many forms in order to meet your philanthropic objectives and provide benefit to the organization. Common planned gifts include bequests in a will, designation of an organization as a beneficiary of a retirement asset, IRA, or life insurance, or establishment of a charitable remainder trust.

Who can make a planned gift?
Anyone can make a planned gift. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be wealthy to leave a meaningful legacy. Even a small amount can have a big impact over time.

How to make a gift?
When making a bequest to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, you can designate a specific amount or a specific percentage of your estate. The following information may assist you in the process:

Legal name: Friends of the Hennepin County Library (or its legal successor organization)
Contact info.: 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612.543.8106
Tax-exempt number: #36-3579536
Sample Language:
A. I give to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library ____ percent of my residuary estate.
B. I give the sum of $_____________ to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.
C. I give the rest and residue of my estate (after other bequests or designations are named) to be used by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library for ____________.

Making a bequest may reduce the taxes that your estate will need to pay. Please consult with your tax advisor for further information.

How are donors recognized ?
Designation of the Friends of HCL for a planned gift qualifies you for membership in the Gratia Circle. Benefits of membership in the Gratia Circle include invitations to annual recognition events, special events and receptions hosted by the Friends of HCL, and your tribute gift listed in the annual report.

For more information
For more information about Planned Gifts or the Gratia Circle, please contact Adam Breininger, Director of Donor Development, at 612.543.8106 or abreininger@hclib.org.

300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401 | 612.543.8100 (Main line) | friends@hclib.org