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We've been flocked! Flamingos take over North Liberty yards for a cause

North Liberty using pink plastic birds to raise funds for library

These flamingos are part of the Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser now underway to raise funds for the North Liberty Public Library’s endowment fund. People pay to have the flamingos set up — often under cover of darkness — in someone’s yard. The flock then moves on to another yard the next day. The fundraiser idea has been “a lot of fun,” the organizer said. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Harrison)
These flamingos are part of the Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser now underway to raise funds for the North Liberty Public Library’s endowment fund. People pay to have the flamingos set up — often under cover of darkness — in someone’s yard. The flock then moves on to another yard the next day. The fundraiser idea has been “a lot of fun,” the organizer said. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Harrison)
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NORTH LIBERTY — A flock of pink flamingos has been popping up in yards across North Liberty this month.

This flock, though, is of the plastic variety and is being used by the North Liberty Library to drum up interest and funds for its endowment.

The initiative — known has the Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser — is spearheaded by Melanie Harrison, the library’s marketing & events coordinator.

“One of the goals I set for myself this year was to draw more attention to the North Liberty Library endowment fund,” said Harrison, who said she turned to Pinterest to find unique fundraising campaigns. “The flamingo flocking show up. I thought, ‘This looks like fun.’ ”

The way it works is North Liberty residents can register online, pay $35 and have a flock of 20 plastic flamingos sent to an address in town.

Harrison primarily has been responsible for moving the birds from address to address late at night so the recipient is surprised in the morning.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Harrison said.

Rather than ruffle anyone’s feathers, Harrison said the fundraising and awareness campaign has been a rousing success.

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Originally, the plans had called for recipients to “flock it forward” and pay to have the birds moved to another home. However, North Liberty residents had reserved every weekday of the month by the third day of the campaign, meaning the flock has to be relocated before a recipient can pass it on themselves.

While the flocking has raised funds, the primary goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the Friends of the North Liberty Library Endowment Fund, said Jennie Garner, the library’s director. The endowment, established in 2016 with about $11,000, has more than tripled in three years, she said.

“Our goal is to continue to see it grow,” Garner said. “We don’t have a set amount. We want to create a sustainable fund.”

North Liberty City Council member Sarah Madsen flocked herself May 8 to surprise her children, ages 5 and 8. While the children were a little leery at first, “they were excited to see them and pose for pictures with them,” Madsen said.

“I think it’s fantastic and a great and creative way to promote our library,” Madsen said, adding she’s already signed up to have the flock visit some of her unsuspecting neighbors.

The campaign runs through the end of will May and should be offered again next May, Harrison said.

Anyone interested in donating directly to the endowment can visit the Community Foundation of Johnson County website — communityfoundationofjohnsoncounty.org — and make a donation there.

• Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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