Lester-Islander challenge meets, beats goal
The match has been met, and then some.
Islanders stepped up to match fellow Islanders Joey and Chuck Lester's challenge of $50,000 to benefit the Anna Maria Island Community Center to the tune of $52,550 as of Monday, bringing the total benevolence to the Center to $102,550 this year.
The funds raised go to the Center's endowment fund, capital of which will remain untouched, although the interest may be spent on Center programs.
The challenge is co-sponsored by The Islander newspaper.
"We are incredibly happy and enormously grateful to the community to have taken the Lester's challenge," said Center Executive director Pierrette Kelly. "The Center's educational, recreational and cultural programs and services have positively affected the lives of thousands of people. With the help of the Center's endowment, thousands more will benefit in the future. This brings us one step closer to ensure that we can continue to provide quality programs and services for all generations. The endowment fund will do this and protect our future, making sure the programs and services for the community are there for generations to come."
The Lester- Islander challenge to the Anna Maria community began in 1996 and has provided the Center with more than $508,000.
"It is all goes toward the success of the Center's endowment," said Chuck Lester, "and could not be made possible without the efforts of The Islander newspaper. We started this in 1996 with zero dollars. We want to thank all the people who contributed. It is the extraordinary effort by the Island people who make this possible."