Alec Baldwin Gives $1 Million To East Hampton Library

Funds will go toward the new children's wing addition, which is nearing completion.

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin with Gwyneth Paltrow at Authors Night 2013 Credit: Matt Peyton/Wire Image for East Hampton Library
Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin with Gwyneth Paltrow at Authors Night 2013 Credit: Matt Peyton/Wire Image for East Hampton Library
Just months after becoming a father for the second time, actor Alec Baldwin has donated $1 million on behalf of his family to the East Hampton Library for its new children's addition, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in spring 2014.

On a conference call on Monday morning, Baldwin said libraries are "one of the great escapes of the world, and he said he hopes his donation will encourage others to help support the library as it heads into the final phase of the longtime project.

"There's so many people who need money and so many people I'd love to be able to do things for," Baldwin said. "I like when you have a chance to finish something."

"As a result, we're in the home stretch," said Tom Twomey, the chairman of the library, of what he referred to as "a 10-year marathon."

With Baldwin's $1 million gift, the library has raised $5.7 million so far for the 6,800-square-foot addition, but still needs another half-million to reach the $6.2 million goal. Like all seven previous additions, the library raises the funds privately instead of floating bonds with taxpayer dollars. 

The donation will underwrite the completion of The Baldwin Family Lecture Room, a 1,000-square-feet, 60-seat room with 11-foot ceilings on the lower level that will provide space for children’s programs, film screenings, poetry readings, historical lectures, author and book events. 

This donation will also make possible the plan to install a simulcast system bringing lectures from the New York Public Library and all over the world to East Hampton, which has never been done remotely in the area before, according to Sheila Rodgers, the executive vice president of the library and chairwoman of the capital campaign. "I am thrilled that Alec is so supportive of our wonderful library and is helping us to make it even better for everyone in our community," she said.

Though the high tech audiovisual room has long been in the plans, the library is now able to purchase upgraded equipment, according to Dennis Fabiszak, the library director. There will be a 7-by-12-foot screen that will come down from the coffered wood ceiling, he said.

Equipment libraries needs have become increasingly expensive, Baldwin said, noting that when he was growing up in Massapequa, he simply made use of a Book-Mobile that parked near his house. Hemade such use of it that when they discontinued it, he bought it, and now he keeps it on a hidden, unobtrusive corner of his Amagansett property. "I don't know why I bought it . . . But I had to have it," he said, adding he may "turn it into a little play house for my daughter or something." 

Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, welcomed Carmen Gabriela on Aug. 23. Baldwin also has a 17-year-old daughter, Ireland, with his former wife, the actress Kim Basinger.

The purpose of East Hampton Library's children's wing is to offer "education, information and entertainment" to children, Fabiszak said. The hope is for it to be "A child's favorite place in East Hampton."

"The new children's wing will have it's own private entrance from the newly enlarged parking lot which is going to make the adult part of the library more quiet and private," said Donald Hunting, the president of the library.

This is the third donation Baldwin has made to the children's wing, and he said it won't be his last, either. 

He donated $250,000 in the fall of 2011 — part of $750,000 he donated to East Hampton-based organizations all from the proceeds from a Capital One commercial — and $25,000 in the spring of 2010. Baldwin serves as an Honorary Co-Chair of the Library’s Children’s Addition Committee. He was also the founding honorary co-chair of the library’s annual Authors Night, which raises about $200,000 for the library each year.

The latest donation, he said, also comes from his Capital One deal, part of $15 million that his charitable foundation has doled out, mainly to the arts. He's given several $1 million gifts to the New York Philharmonic and  New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. 

His partnership with Capital One is coming to end — "I don't know if I want to be on TV all the time in advertising much longer," he said. "I'm very grateful to Capital One," he said as the deal enabled him to give in a way he wouldn't have been able to do.
Carly November 12, 2013 at 05:41 PM
In response to Nancy's comment, it is obvious Mr. Baldwin can do what he likes with his money. However, our version of men -- celebrity or not -- differs. Baldwin cursed out his teenage daughter (sick and sad), consistently accosts and physically harms paparazzi (sadly antagonistic and immature), rants about political green initiatives (sadly hypocritical considering he uses private jets to fly around the world), and flouts the rules (I'm Alec Baldwin and I don't want to end my words-with-friends game!), which is sad and small. As a former publisher-turned-English teacher, I am pro-library and anti-bullies. Baldwin needs to improve his character, not oil his ego with his self-named donation.
podjoe November 20, 2013 at 02:44 PM
So is the Library gonna a build on a new Left Wing ? Maybe they can teach anger management in the Alec Baldwin family values section.
Carly November 20, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Sooooo funny
podjoe November 22, 2013 at 09:42 AM
Thanks Carly, but from the Baldwinian Unabashed Dictionary the term is --get this--- Hilarious !
podjoe November 22, 2013 at 09:50 AM
I always thought Alec had his best role as a cartoon character in "Team America" although he wasn't really acting


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