About the Tocker Foundation
The Tocker Foundation is a family foundation with roots dating back to the early 1960s when its founders, Phillip and Olive Tocker, began exploring ways to give back to their community. Their generosity created a legacy of philanthropy in the family that continues to this day.
With an office in Austin, Texas, and a staff of two, the organization is governed by a mix of family members and librarians whose guidance helps the family achieve their goal of supporting rural, public libraries of Texas. This funding focus was identified back in the early 1990s when research revealed a severe lack of resources in towns of 12,000 or less. The Foundation’s very first grant cycle confirmed the need when applications for funding amounted to ten times the total that was available for grant-making at the time.
The Foundation has supported rural libraries through grants, stipends for professional development, partnerships with other library-affiliated service organizations such as Texas Library Association and PLAN, and advocacy within the philanthropic community.
In recent years, the board of directors has taken an added approach to grant-making, one that seeks maximum impact by elevating the grant process from a transaction to a partnership. This new approach challenges libraries to seek constant improvement, to maximize strengths, and tend to weaknesses, all in the interest of strengthening communities through the multitude of library services. Driven by the board’s recognition that rural librarians often need outside assistance to achieve such goals, we pair grant funds with professional guidance to convert project results from ordinary to transformative.