Todd Bol helped Eddye Watkins erect a Little Free Library on her yard in Minneapolis in October 2013. (David Joles/Star Tribune) 

The late Todd Bol, who dreamed up Little Free Library, would have turned 63 on Jan. 2. As a birthday gift, his family is creating a family foundation in his name.

It's an idea Bol discussed before his death in October, a few weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, said his brother, Tony Bol. "The Bol family is certain Todd would have loved to see it come to life..."

The new organization, Share with Others, will support the family foundation and the Little Free Library nonprofit Bol founded. But its mission will be broader than books. That's because Bol's mission, too, was always broader than books. 

Bol’s now-ubiquitous little boxes – marked with the message “Take a book, leave a book – inspired similar dollhouse-sized projects, including Little Free Pantries. "We are embracing and providing Little Free Libraries, Blessing Boxes and Little Free Pantries to start with," Tony Bol said by email. "Our foundation plans to examine the culture of neighborhood sharing and expand the impact in new directions."

He continued:

"Keep in mind, if you go to Etsy or almost any platform you will see the work of many other Little Free Library organizations that are not formally affiliated with the Hudson based nonprofit. This was all by design; my brother loved the story of Miracle on 34th Street, where the Santa working at Macy’s sends a parent to find the toy they want at Gimbal’s. That is what Todd wanted for the Little Free Library movement. He made sure that people even had free instructions on how to build a LFL if they did not wish to buy one from a supplier."

Tony Bol will lead the new organization, based in Stillwater. Susan, Todd Bol's wife of 35 years, and their children, Allison and Austin, will also be involved. The family is hosting an open house 10 to 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at 233 Second St., Stillwater. Read more about that event here.

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