Center looks to green campaign, snowbirds to grow income

The Center of Anna Maria Island is facing an uphill financial battle in fiscal 2019-20.

The center lost $80,118 in net income in the first quarter, which began July 1. The nonprofit made $145,243 more through the same period in 2018, when it was $65,125 in the green.

The deficit includes $48,296 in concession funds received from Manatee County for new vans and fitness equipment, which the nonprofit purchased earlier this year. The center also plans to ask the county for more money to renovate bathrooms and repair the roof.

“It’s slow right now, so we’re not in a rush to start tearing everything out,” executive director Chris Culhane said at the Oct. 28 board of directors meeting.

Without county funding, the difference between the nonprofit’s current and previous fiscal year grows larger.

The center made $149,798 in operating income, including $8,975 in net revenue from fundraising and $12,617 from programs. However, it logged $274,220 in operating expenses, resulting in a $124,422 deficit in operating income and expenditures.

Board chair David Zaccagnino said the first quarter also was slow last year, but the center had received an endowment, as well as city funding. He added that he expects revenues to increase heading into the winter and spring tourist season, with the arrival of snowbirds.

Culhane also said he expects snowbirds to boost the nonprofit’s financial situation.

“Snowbird season will help dramatically, and we have already seen a huge influx of returning members,” Culhane wrote in a Nov. 1 email to The Islander. “In the past couple of weeks, we have had over 80 returning or new members sign up. This will significantly help our financials, and we have budgeted for membership revenue to almost double from last month to this month.”

“We fully budgeted and expect to be in the red through October, but will make a dramatic turn around once season kicks in, just as all other island businesses do,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the center is gearing up for “Ocean of Hope” with Phillippe Cousteau Jr., a host and producer of television nature documentaries, including “Xploration Awesome Planet” on FOX, which was nominated for Emmy awards.

Cousteau will discuss environmental conservation efforts, as well as tell personal stories and offer insights, at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

Suzi Fox, executive director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, also will speak, commenting on her efforts to monitor and support sea turtle nesting on the island.

Zaccagnino said the center received a couple of “large sponsorship commitments” for the event, but declined to provide details.

Development director Jim McDaniel said the center would launch one of the nonprofit’s first green initiative programs at the event.

He said the nonprofit plans to purchase mini-reefs — small structures placed underwater to cultivate sea life and promote clean water — for resale at “Ocean of Hope.”

People also will have the option to purchase a center wish list item alongside a mini-reef.

The center also is working on lining up music groups and sponsors for a second concert series, which will begin in January 2020.

Outside of the series, the center will host Sha Na Na Saturday, Dec. 14, for the group’s 50th anniversary.

Tickets can be purchased for $48-$68 from the Manatee Performing Arts Center at 941-749-1111 or tickets.manateeperformingartscenter.com.

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