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Baltimore Co. library steps up its fundraising

The Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library Inc. is stepping up its fundraising efforts with “Taste of the Town,” the largest fundraising event in its 22-year history.

The event, which will be held Saturday at the Perry Hall branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, is scheduled to have live music, a silent auction and tasting stations with food from 24 food vendors from the Baltimore area.

The foundation expects to raise about $100,000 and have an attendance of 275, about $40,000 and 135 more than the last fundraising event, “A Fair to Remember,” which was in 2010, according to Executive Director Heidi Gillis.

“This is the first year we have done [Taste of the Town], but we are hoping it will become annual,” Gillis said.

Tickets, which cost $60, are already sold out.

“We’ve not had a sold-out event before,” Gillis said. “We were very aware of the economy; we didn’t want to do a gala where people had to pay a huge amount for a ticket.”

Frank’s Pizza and Pasta is one of three “diamond” food sponsors, which means that its food donation had to be valued at more than $3,000.

“I just thought it would be a good outreach when I heard about it,” said JoAnn Buontempo, who owns Frank’s with her husband.

Other diamond sponsors are White Marsh-based Red Brick Station and the Baltimore location of Honolulu-based Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.

For their donation, diamond sponsors receive eight tickets to the event, recognition in several of the library’s publications including a full-page ad in the event program, their logo on display at BCPL’s 17 branches and a guarantee of at least four announcements during the event, according to the document the foundation provided to potential sponsors.

The event also has 20 corporate sponsors, the largest being M&T Bank, with a donation of $10,000.

“We are pleased to sponsor the Taste of the Town, which helps the library support programs that encourage reading and lifelong learning to residents throughout the Baltimore area,” Michelle Denoncourt, M&T Bank’s retail regional manager for northern Baltimore County, said in an email. Denoncourt also serves as treasurer of the library’s foundation.

For its donation, M&T Bank receives the same package as diamond food sponsors, except for 10 tickets instead of eight.

Other corporate sponsors, including the Towson Town Center and White Marsh Mall, made donations between $500 and $5,000.

The event also has three media sponsors, First Floor Graphics, WBFF/WNUV, and WLIF, which all donated media coverage valued at $5,000 or less, according to Gillis.