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Local Philanthropists Offer To Match Contributions For New Library

Aired 7/3/13 on KPBS News.

In this economy, an opportunity to double your money is rare, but if you're looking to invest in the new San Diego Central Library, a recently announced grant will increase your contribution two-fold.

With less than three months until opening day, San Diego's new downtown library is $15 million shy of its necessary funds.

Downtown San Diego's public library.

But Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan — two names synonymous with giving, including donations to KPBS — announced a matching grant that if fulfilled, would pull the library out of the red and even tip the scale toward a surplus.

Beginning Wednesday, the Jacobs will match contributions to the San Diego Central Library up to $10 million. If San Diegans rise to the challenge, the sum will cover the library's debt and leave a remaining $5 million to fund programs.

Jay Hill, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, said the grant gives donors the chance to have double the impact.

"The way this match works is, if someone's interested in let's say a $10,000 opportunity, with their $5,000 gift and this generous match from the Jacobs, they now will have an opportunity to do that," he said.

Jay Hill is the CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

Hill said members of the public can donate in a variety of ways, including large donations that earn contributors a room named in their honor, or on a smaller scale, people can purchase an inscribed brick to be laid on the library's grounds.

People have gotten creative with the latter, Hill said.

"We've had one person ask someone to marry them with a brick," he said.

The Jacobs have set the matching grant's deadline as Sept. 28, the same day the library opens its doors to the public.

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