Nonprofit plans to fundraise by growing green initiatives
The Center of Anna Maria Island’s 2019-20 fiscal year is off to a slow start.
The center is $51,706 in the red after two months of its fiscal year, which began July 1. The center was $82,328 in the black after the same period in 2018-19 — a $134,034 difference.
Almost three-quarters of the center’s shortfall compared with last year can be attributed to a lack of fundraising. In 2018-19, the center collected $124,913 in donations, sponsorships, tickets and merchandise sales through August, but only raised $31,461 in July-August 2019.
Treasurer Christine Hicks said the main reason for the shortfall is because the nonprofit received estate money that “carried (the center) through” the first two months of 2018.
Also, in 2018, the city of Anna Maria contributed $18,500 to the center. The center has not requested city funding this year.
Expenditures also increased from $134,147 in July-August 2018 to $192,289 this year. The increase partly is due to the hiring of Jim McDaniel in July as development director.
“Don’t be shocked,” board chair David Zaccagnino said at a Sept. 30 meeting. “This is normal. We’re fully staffed, and this is our slow, slow, slow time of the year. We budgeted for this.”
“We have money in the bank to cover this shortfall,” he continued. “It happens.”
The center finished $166,000 in the black for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which ended June 30.
A slow start to fundraising hasn’t slowed the center’s work on green initiatives.
McDaniel introduced to the board of directors new aspects of the center’s green initiatives — a series of projects designed to make the center and the community more environmentally friendly.
He said the center plans to purchase mini-reefs — small structures placed underwater to cultivate sea life that in turn, cleans the water — for resale starting Nov. 16. People also will have the option to pay for a center wish list item alongside the mini-reef.
The wish list will include technology items, as well as fitness and sports equipment.
The proceeds will benefit the center’s community wellness programs and a set of green initiatives, which executive director Chris Culhane said began with replacing the center’s halogen light bulbs with LED bulbs.
He added that staff also are working on phasing out single-use plastic water bottles at the center.
“This is just the beginning,” said Culhane.
He said another green initiative, a composting program, will be launched soon.
The nonprofit partnered with Sunshine Community Compost to train staff and oversee the program. SCC will work with the center and its community volunteers to maintain the program.
Certain green-themed merchandise sales also will support the effort, including T-shirts and water bottles, with proceeds earmarked for the annual fund.
In other news, the nonprofit is planning repairs, maintenance and renovation projects for the 12-year-old building, including the bathrooms, spending $15,000 allocated and approved by the island cities from the county concession funds, as well as repairing or replacing 14 AC units.
Culhane wrote in an Oct. 3 email to The Islander that the center is taking bids for the bathroom-plumbing remodeling.