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Date of Issue: November 23, 2006

$50,000 Lester-Islander challenge under way in earnest

With Thanksgiving just hours away and Christmas looming, the Lesters' $50,000 challenge for matching dollars from the community's givers, big and small, is now under way.

Chuck and Joey Lester are challenging Islanders to donate generously enough to cost them $50,000. That's the optimum amount they will match in donations this year to the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

This year's focus has moved from funding the endowment fund, which enhances stability for future operation of the Center, to the capital fund, due to the need to raise more funding for construction of the new Center - and the dollars are desperately needed to meet the increased costs for the new facility - already under construction - due to increased costs.

The capital campaign goal of $4.8 million is lacking by slightly more than $2 million, while gifts, pledges and grants to date amount to $2,684,095.

For years now, the Lesters, of Holmes Beach and Wisconsin, have matched donations given to the Center from the opening of the drive in The Islander until the end of the year.

For many years, donations have surpassed the challenge mark, meaning the Center got $100,000 and the Lesters, The Islander and Center staff are certain this year's record will live up to the challenge.

It's the season for giving, and the Lesters ask you to join them in seeing the dream for the Center to reality.

This year, more than ever, your contribution is needed.

Donations may be mailed to the Center at P.O. Box 253, Anna Maria FL 34216, or arranged by talking with the staff of the Center at 778-1908, or The Islander at 778-7978.


Campaign updates:

Capital Campaign goal: $4.8 million

The total amount raised as of to date is :$2,684,095 in outright gifts, pledges and grants.

Balance to raise: $2,115.905 


Did You Know…

The Center will be expanded from 10,000 sq. ft. to 24,500 sq. ft.

The new Center will have several learning centers, a computer center, space for art, dance, music and drama in addition to fitness, and all sports as well as culinary arts and a stage for performance. 

With the new space we will meet the highest standards of after school programs.

The Center's teen programs (REACH/LEAD) will have its own space and will expand opportunities for teens' personal growth and development.

The Center will be wheel chair accessible and offer classes and programs to keep minds and bodies young and healthy while lifting spirits and building a strong support group for aging seniors.

With expanded space the Center will be able to offer meals on wheels for groups of seniors with guest speakers and interesting educational programs.

The new Center will have two rooms for the Family Foundations Pogram facilitating more flexibility for evening appointments and added possibilities for expansion of services (individual counseling, child and adolescent counseling, couple counseling, parenting education groups and workshops)

With the new building the Center will be more efficient in fulfilling the educational, recreational and cultural services - a tool for attracting residents and businesses by guaranteeing quality of life and economic health.

The Center will be suitable to serve as a Red Cross post disaster relief station.

Space will be available to other Island organizations for meetings, performances and activities as well as other nonprofits wishing to serve Island residents.

It will provide increased security for visitors and members of the Center.

That there are several naming opportunities where a room in the Center may be named after a donor or as a memorial gift.

That however large or small your gift, you can support the building project by making a donation now.

Your financial support of the Community Center strengthens our educational, recreational and cultural enterprises and helps continue our contributions to the quality of life in our community and beyond.

As the sole provider of after-School, Holiday and Summer Camp Programs in our community,

AMICC seeks to provide quality programs for all youth, especially those who would be home alone without our programs.


Aida Matic-Chaffee
Development Director
Anna Maria Island Community Center
phone: (941) 778-1908
fax: (941) 778-9511