To better support the library, the Norris Library board created the Norris Library Foundation, Inc. as a 501(c)3 organization. The library board applied for and obtained a foundation status through the Department of the Secretary of State of North Carolina in 1999. In April of 2001, the Norris Library Foundation, Inc. received tax exempt status through the Internal Revenue Service.
Obtaining the 501(c) 3 status did not change the library’s relationship with the Town of Rutherfordton or with the current system of management. The Norris Library Foundation, Inc. exists entirely independently, with the sole purpose of providing financial and other support to the library. The 501(c) 3 status allows the foundation to:
- Receive donations that would be tax deductible to the donor
- To hold ownership of stocks donated to the library thus avoiding the strictures placed on local governments
- Place donations into fund accounts that are supervised by the library foundation board
- Apply for grants that are only available to 501(c) 3 organizations.
In 2003, the Foundation established the 21st Century Fund to finance future capital improvements. Members of the Norris family toured the library building and attended a reception in their honor in 2006.
The Foundation conducts various fundraisers to purchase books, fund special projects, and make improvements to the library. Recently, funds raised by the Foundation have contributed to the development of the Kiwanis Park StoryWalk and provided two new armchairs for the library’s newly renovated Reading Room.