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Shirley and Kenneth Payne Fund
By Jean Cohoon / January 28, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

“One of the functions of libraries is to make the past accessible to the community,” says Ken Payne. And that is what he is doing through this fund, named for his parents and designated for the North Kingstown Library Corporation “for the development and/or maintenance of its local history collection, with a focus on, but not limited to, the South County Room.”

Ken moved with his parents and younger brothers to Wickford when he was in the third grade and grew up in that North Kingstown village. He recalls passing the library on his way to school. “It became one of my stopping points and, by junior high, I was a regular patron. It impressed me early on as an extremely important part of the community,” he explains.

As her younger sons entered high school, Shirley Payne began working at the library, first as a part-time assistant, then as head of children’s services and coordinator of readers’ services; she earned a master of library science degree at the University of Rhode Island before being named library director. After retirement, she volunteered in the South County Room for 19 years.

Ken’s father, Kenneth Adams Payne, worked at Electric Boat and with a partner, established a small, specialty boat-building firm. “Two of dad’s great pleasures were boats, and books,” Ken recalls, “which mom supplied from the library.”

“Since having a knowable past is a source of meaning for people and places, I wanted to help keep local history lively for future generations in the community of my youth,” Ken explains, “so I went to the library and talked with the director, who referred me to the Foundation.”  (The Library already has organizational endowments at the Foundation and is the beneficiary of another Foundation-administered designated fund.) 

“The Foundation is a marvelous tool for doing what I had in mind. It has institutional capacity that is highly professional and serves my specific need. I see the Foundation as a means to make things happen. It’s an enduring way to support a community one cares about,” Ken concludes.

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