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Two decades of leadership

After more than twenty years at The Library Foundation supporting the work of Multnomah County Library, Merris Sumrall will retire from her position this winter. She will continue in her role until a new Executive Director is selected. 

Merris joined The Library Foundation in 2003 as the organization’s second director, after a successful career as a strategic consultant in the technology sector. She has led the foundation through three major multi-year fundraising campaigns focused on supporting children’s literacy programs and educational library spaces for children and teens. She also spearheaded the foundation’s leading role in five successful ballot measure campaigns for the library, including the 2012 measure that created the Multnomah County Library District and the 2020 capital bond measure funding nine major library building projects underway today. 

Merris’ tenure has been defined by strategic leadership, a collaborative workstyle and powerful storytelling that has illuminated Multnomah County Library’s work, especially the library’s transformative work with young readers. Her contributions have been lauded by the Portland Business Journal as Nonprofit Executive of the Year, and by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation with their Creative Leadership Award. These prestigious awards recognized her insight, tenacity, and creativity in achieving the foundation’s mission and her advocacy for stable, long-term funding for our library system. Last year, foundation support made it possible for the library to reach more than 200,000 children and adults and expand 15 library programs.


“Merris has been instrumental in building the tremendous public support our library enjoys today,” says Brad Thies, The Library Foundation’s Board Chair. “Through her dedicated work over the last two decades, she has had a positive impact upon the lives of generations of children. I'd like to live in a world full of people like Merris.”
The Library Foundation Board has selected The 360 Group/Murphy Symonds Stowell to assist with the search for a new Executive Director. We expect a new leader will join us in the new year. A formal job posting will be forthcoming. Please continue to check The Library Foundation’s website and social media accounts for updates. 


With gratitude for your support,

Board of Trustees
The Library Foundation

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