Above: CLiF Executive Director Duncan McDougall, left, and board member Dan Lynch, right, at the Summer Readers event held in memory of Richard Lynch in 2013. The photograph Dan holds is a picture of himself with his father.

As CLiF’s Office Manager, I have the responsibility and privilege of processing the generous donations that come through our door.  Sometimes I delight in adding a new supporter to our database. Other times I’m touched by the encouraging words from longtime donors who tell us to “keep up the good work” and that what we do “continues to be an inspiration.” Like letters from dear friends, beautiful cards arrive with carefully handwritten notes sharing the latest news on donors’ personal lives and families. Our donors really are a part of our extended CLiF family.

So it is particularly sad when we receive news that a CLiF donor has passed away. We have lost not only a friend of literacy but also someone with whom we shared a close relationship. This year, we said goodbye to several friends, and I was met with a bittersweet task: processing donations given to CLiF in memory of these former donors. This year seven families requested that memorial donations be made to CLiF. This accounted for more than 100 memorial gifts.

We were moved by the outpouring of support in memory of these wonderful individuals. All clearly beloved within their communities, donations piled up on my desk from all over Vermont and New Hampshire and from the far reaches of the United States. Friends, families, coworkers, libraries, churches, businesses, and friends of family members reached out to CLiF. Each envelope arrived containing a gift and heartfelt words from people, strangers to us until now, writing to tell us how much our mutual friend meant to them and that supporting our work was a way of honoring their loved one.

In some cases the support received meant we were able to hold an entire event in someone’s memory. In most of these cases, family members and dear friends attended the event. One recreation director shared her personal reaction to a Summer Readers event held in memory of Richard Lynch, father of CLiF board member Dan Lynch:

I cannot tell you how touched I was when Duncan shared with me that our presentation was underwritten in memory of Richard Lynch and that his son was there to watch it. When Duncan introduced me to him I was shy from tears as I know what this meant to him in honor of his father and can only imagine how proud his father would be with the smiles and joy that those books not only brought that day but the same books that will be passed down and along to other children.

CLiF has the unique honor of celebrating our friends’ memories and values that deeply mattered to them and their families–by sharing books and a love of reading and writing with Vermont and New Hampshire children.

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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