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Date of Issue: February 25, 2009

Community Center revenues down

The Anna Maria Island Community Center is continuing to operate and provide critical and necessary programs to Islanders of all ages, but donations and revenues are down because of a bad economy.

Revenues are just not making projections, treasurer Bill Ford told the board of directors at its Feb. 13 meeting.

With a slumping economy, Ford said the Center should not expect more revenue sources.

That’s essentially the same message that executive director Pierrette Kelly delivered to the directors.

“We are working on all avenues of revenues,” and looking at every possible way to reduce expenditures, she said.

With the economy slumping and revenues down, more and more people are seeking scholarships and financial assistance to participate in the Center’s needed programs, she said. Participation is up at the Center, but revenues are not.

Kelly cited the example of a 58-year-old grandfather who recently lost his job, but has two young granddaughters to support, and he needs to keep them in the after-school care program.

“He needs help for the girls. His need is great. Everyone’s need is great. It’s a very challenging time,” she said.

“But no one is ever turned away” because of an inability to pay, she noted.

The problem is that fundraising is not bringing in the revenues that it used to provide, Kelly said.

As an example, a recent dance at the Center brought in $1,000 to the treasury. The same dance last year at the same time raised more than $2,300.

“It’s a balancing act and we’re trying to figure out how to get everything done. This is the most critical month for us in fundraising.”

Kelly said she’s had little success in obtaining more grant money because grant funding is down.

A lot of grant sources are looking to fund more critical needs, such as homeless people and at-risk children, she said.

Kelly said the staff is giving their “heart and soul” to keep the Center operating and everyone is out looking for donors.

The Center held another fundraising dance Feb. 21.

A talent show is scheduled for April 18 and the Island Tour of Homes is planned for March 21.

The 25th annual “Affaire to Remember” — this year on April 4 — is the Center’s most important fundraising event of the year and Kelly is still looking for sponsors and donors.

“Now is the time to be out looking for donors. We have to be able to succeed in the market,” she said.

Ford praised Kelly and the staff for “doing a great job of reducing expenses.” He said expenses are down $90,000 compared with last year and everyone is committed to operating the Center and maintaining its critical programs.

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