The Anna Maria Island Community Center board of directors got some bad news at their April 19 meeting about the upcoming May 18 black-tie gala.
An Island Affaire, the center’s biggest fundraiser each year and less than four weeks away, is behind at least $42,000 in ticket sales, according to staff member Sharen Pittman.
Of the 43 tables available, only 10 have been sold. Each table is $1,400 for eight people, while a VIP table, which also seats eight, is $2,000.
Individual tickets are $175, including a Champagne reception, or $250 for a ticket that includes a VIP pre-party with special entertainment, select seating and an auction preview.
Pittman said there are some who have pledged to buy a table, but have not yet paid.
That could be because the headline entertainment for the event has not been announced, suggested board member David Teitelbaum.
But assistant center director Scott Dell, until April 1 interim executive director, said he is keeping the name quiet to build interest in the event. Dell promised it would be a big-name entertainer.
Other board members, however, said the name should be brought to the public’s attention to spark ticket sales.
Teitelbaum said the event is “just around the corner” and the center needs to get the entertainment details out before it’s too late.
Dell insisted the entertainment “is still a surprise. It will come out in time, and we’ll let the newspapers know.”
Treasurer Stewart Moon Jr. also noted the event was just one month away.
Dell said the event has sold about 350 seats in the past, although last year sold 314. That was still a good number, as many were VIP tables.
He said this year’s event needs to bring in $196,000 or the center faces a shortfall in its budget.
Pittman also noted the change in date, from a late March date to a mid-May date, which means many winter residents who regularly attend and buy a table will be back at their Northern homes by May 18.
“I called a lot of people who said they’d be gone by May 18,” she said.
“So moving the date to May might not have been such a good idea,” Rudacille suggested.
Dell said raffle sales also are slow. He said he needed a commitment from each board member to contact “people with money” to buy a table or purchase raffle tickets.
In other news, Moon reported income for the year is down $23,000 from activities and $28,000 from donations.
“But we are slowly catching up,” he said.
Dell said the revenue will be ahead of projections, but only if An Island Affaire is a success.
In the search for revenue, Pittman said she’s applied for a United Way grant for $25,000, and should soon learn the result of the application. She’s also applied to Manatee County for a grant.
Dell added that summer sports revenue should increase with 34 teams participating in five sports this summer.
He said there are adult teams for soccer, kickball and basketball, and youth teams for kickball and basketball.
“The projections are good for income,” he said.
“But I’ll be blunt,” Dell said. “I need you guys to fill the seats at An Island Affaire. So go get those people.”
The event includes a silent auction with unique items and vacations, he said, and the items should get a good price. Getting people to buy tickets is of primary importance the next four weeks.
“This has got to be the last push,” Dell said.
Executive director Dawn Stiles attended her first board meeting since she began work April 1, reporting she’s impressed with the staff.
She has scheduled monthly staff meetings and has seen the staff work well as a team, she said.
While still in the learning phase, she’s already begun looking at next year’s budget.
After the gala, she’ll work with staff to have the 2013-14 budget ready for presentation at the board’s June 21 meeting.
The board voted to have meetings at 8 a.m. on the third Friday of every month. The next meeting is 8 a.m. Friday, May 17, at the center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.