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By Caitlin Cook
A new aquarium in the lobby of the Lake Arlington Branch Library will be stocked with fish and vegetation that can be found in Texas lakes and streams.
It will serve to teach the public about the importance of the nearby lake community.
The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation assisted with this project with an initial $20,000 grant. The library project is one of many community initiatives the 7-year-old foundation has funded.
Arlington City Council members established Arlington Tomorrow with money the Texas city is earning by leasing land for natural-gas wells.
“We know that’s one-time money, and we know at some point — give it 25 or 30 years — it’s all going to be gone,” said Lana Wolff, a council member.
Each year, 10 percent of money earned from the city’s drilling is placed in the city manager’s budget while the other 90 percent goes to Arlington Tomorrow.
The endowment currently has more than $70 million and expects to have $200 million saved by the end of this year.
Wolff said Arlington Tomorrow helps fund neighborhood beautification initiatives and other projects that seek to make life better for the residents of Arlington.
Additionally, the foundation supports programs and projects designed to have a positive impact on youth and family services, safe and strong neighborhoods, historic preservation and beatification, cultural programming, library enhancements, environmental and energy conservation, parks and recreation and animal services.
Wolff said organizations submit simple grant proposals and staff and board members of Arlington Tomorrow make awards based on community need as well as the track record and overall ability of the organizations seeking funds.
In 2010, the Arlington Public Library system was granted $63,857 from Arlington Tomorrow to help fund four projects.
“We are grateful to have received funding from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation,” said Andi Davis, a spokesman for the Arlington Library System. “It has allowed us to expand the library services being offered to our community.”
Carolyn Mentesana, Arlington Tomorrow Foundation executive director, said the foundation has now become a permanent community asset.
“Given the fact we’re operating with a permanently endowed fund, our proceeds promise to benefit the city and its residents for generations to come,” she said. “Because we address a broad range of needs in the community, our financial grants are helping groups — large and small — address the growing and challenging needs facing the people who call Arlington home.”
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