Hampton telescope new cutline

Blue Ridge Astronomy Group’s Bob Hampton showing Troy Chappell a distant object using his telescope during a star party hosted at the library earlier this year.

NEWLAND — Late last year, the Morrison Charitable Trust dissolved and the remaining funds for the fund’s two beneficiaries, Cannon Memorial Hospital and Avery County Morrison Library, was paid out and the fund was disbanded.

More than $1.2 million was allocated for the library in Avery County.

Before the trust was abolished, it had a three-member voting board which included the bank administering the fund. The fund was originally banked with Wachovia, which was later purchased by Wells Fargo.

Each year AMY Regional Library would submit a funding proposal for services and programs at the Avery branch, and the trustees would vote on providing funding. Now that the trust has been dissolved, a new board with three voting members and a nonvoting member from the county, which is appointed by the local library board, has been created and the $1.2 million paid out by the defunct trust is being invested.

AMY Library Director Amber Westall Briggs said it was important to the trustees and board members that the funds carry on as they had in the trust.

Westall Briggs added that a resolution was drafted by an attorney and passed through the regional board stipulating the funds can only pass through the Avery branch of the library.

“That was really important to me and the board members,” Westall Briggs said, noting her position is permanent but board members tend to change, and the way the funds will be used will be similar to when it was administered by the trustees.

The funds are being invested via North Carolina Capital Management, one of the few options for investing as a public institution, and a common way for local government entities to invest.

The new board will be composed of a member of the Avery branch board, an attorney or business person from the county and a community member with nonprofit board experience. A fourth member from county government will serve on the board as well, but without voting privileges.

“It does change in the sense that these are not trustees. These are individuals who represent Avery County, who want these funds to be used for Avery County systems,” Westall Briggs said. “And having them as the individuals who decide how this money is used is fantastic.”

One of the projects at the library that has been funded by the project is digitizing all the historical documents in the library’s collection.

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