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Mary Jacobs Foundation Drops "Library" from Its Name — Announces New Mission

By Barbara A. Preston | May 16, 2022


The Mary Jacobs Memorial Library Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in the early 1970s to steward a generous gift from Harold Jacobs in honor of his late wife’s memory, announced on May 16 that it has a new name and mission.


The Mary Jacobs Foundation (MJF), see new logo below, now provides support for projects that benefit the communities "in and around Rocky Hill," particularly in areas of creativity, sustainability, and engagement.

MJF President Cary Esperanza Dawson of Rocky Hill emailed a press release to The Montgomery News today (Monday), announcing the changes.


"Going forward, the Mary Jacobs Foundation will continue to benefit the community by providing funding for community-based projects that enhance the [geographic] areas in and around Rocky Hill," Dawson said in the release.


The MJF's first project is to adapt a portion of its building at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill, currently a full-size library, to contain a mini-library with services provided by the Somerset County Library System. "The planning and execution of this ... project represent hundreds of thousands of dollars that the Mary Jacobs Foundation will invest in the community," according to the release.

MJF has the following trustees, from left: Phil Kartsonis, formerly of Rocky Hill; Cary Dawson of Rocky Hill; Crissy Blanos of Montgomery Township; Michelle Jacob of Montgomery Township; and Smitha Parakkal of Montgomery Township. Bookkeeper Elizabeth Dumont (second from right) is an employee of MJF.


Under an agreement signed in 2020, Somerset County will continue to provide small-scale library services in Rocky Hill for two years. Rocky Hill Borough will continue to make an annual contribution to the library of $10,000. The agreement specifies that a temporary mini library should be about a third of current library’s size. One full-time staff member would work 35 to 37.5 hours per week. Programming for children and adults would be offered, and library patrons would still be able to check out books.


The Mary Jacobs Memorial Library was founded in the early 1970s as a result of a generous gift from Harold Jacobs in order to honor his wife’s memory in her hometown of Rocky Hill.


"With the unexpected announcement of a new library [about a mile away in Montgomery Township] and the upcoming closure of the Mary Jacobs branch [in Rocky Hill], the foundation spent many months searching for new possibilities for the branch," according to the MJF press release. "The 2020 agreement between the Somerset County Library Commission (SCLC), the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library Foundation, Montgomery Township, and the Borough of Rocky Hill represented the culmination of months of negotiations and a plan for the future. At its conclusion, the foundation felt reassured that some library services would continue in the borough for the short term."


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The MJF press release continues: "While [MJF], like many in the Rocky Hill area, is saddened by the changes to Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, it looks forward to a bright future fulfilling its new mission,"


"We envision a community in which people can enjoy each other’s company, learn from each other, work together to achieve common goals that benefit all residents, ensure the environmental and physical sustainability of the area, and promote peace, understanding, and generosity. To that end, the Mary Jacobs Foundation provides support for projects that promote creativity, sustainability, and engagement in the community."


Donations to the new foundation are now being accepted on MJF's new website at maryjacobs.org.


"I am devoted to this organization [MJF] because I believe that supporting education, creativity, and sustainability can inspire future generations and make our community stronger," Dawson said on the new website.

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