Center stays above water for 2nd consecutive month

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Center of Anna Maria Island board member Don Purvis, outgoing executive director Kristen Lessig, and board members Mike Thrasher, David Zaccagnino and Christine Hicks pose Feb. 19 with outgoing executive director Kristen Lessig. Islander Photo: Bianca Benedí

The Center of Anna Maria Island is above water for a second consecutive month.

After reporting in January that the center exceeded budget goals at the end of December by $6,000, the center’s January financials show continued progress.

For January, the center reported it was $6,111.79 in the black, a net increase of $88 from December.

The budget predicted the center would be more than $36,000 in the red for the fiscal year that began July 1. The center is approximately $42,000 above budget, according to board treasurer Christine Hicks.

Program revenue and expenses went up for January, reflecting an increase in seasonal visitors, according to outgoing executive director Kristen Lessig.

In December 2016, total program revenue reached just over $32,000. For the same month this year, the center received nearly $81,000 from programs.

Program expenses nearly doubled as well, going from just under $25,000 in December 2016 to $47,000 in January, but remained $27,000 below budget.

Total revenue fell below budget — $287,000 compared to the budgeted $308,000 — but spending restrictions helped keep the budget in balance.

The center also exceeded its fundraising income goals, bringing in a net income of $266,000 versus an anticipated $245,000.

David Zaccagnino, chair of the center board, said he is meeting with Bradenton Beach officials to discuss funding center infrastructure needs from the Manatee County beach concession fund.

The board voted unanimously Feb. 19 to accept John Lefner, a real estate broker with Island Real Estate and head of the new Vacasa vacation rental office in Anna Maria, onto the board.

John Munn, who was added to the board in January, delivered a report on the center’s efforts to identify potential candidates as interim executive director of the center. However, no candidates were confirmed.

One candidate who was not named meets the requirements, according to Munn, and lives on the island, but does not want a full-time position.

Peg Walker, a human resources representative for the center, said she would be looking for candidates over the next three to four weeks.

She received 94 resumes for the position, which she narrowed to eight candidates to interview.

Lessig said Heather Darling, the center’s former grant consultant, declined the development and marketing director position, citing her desire to let the new executive director build her own team.

Darling did agree to take on multiple projects, including crafting thank-you letters and cultivating relationships with donors, completing and tracking grant applications, providing staff support for the tour of homes in March, assisting with marketing efforts, preparing for the Giving Challenge in May and helping prepare the fundraising budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Lessig identified nine grants for Darling to follow before the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

In addition, Lessig said Darling would lead an effort to obtain solicitation permits in 41 states. Currently, the center only has a permit for Florida, restricting its out-of-state solicitation efforts.


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