The East Lyme Library Foundation (ELLF) was established in 1992 as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit corporation by a small group of interested townspeople. Its initial purpose was to formally manage an already existing endowment that had been started many years before. Since then, ELLF has also taken on the function of fundraising. In this way, the endowment can be maintained and enhanced, thus ensuring and preserving the high quality of The East Lyme Library for generations to come.
Gifts and bequests made to the Foundation are kept separate from and should not be confused with contributions to the Library's Annual Fund Drive. Donations to the latter are for the Library's current use whereas the focus of ELLF is the future financial stability of the institution. To achieve this end, the Foundation solicits charitable gifts and bequests from civic-minded people. The principle is maintained and invested for the long term. Under IRS regulations, a sizeable donation amounting to approximately 5% of the Foundation's net worth is distributed each year to the Library for the purchase of books. Over 1000 titles are acquired on an annual basis for both the adult and children's collections using between $25,000 and $30,000 donated by ELLF.