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Date of Issue: September 16, 2009

Center seeks to build city partnerships

The Anna Maria Island Community Center board is seeking to build its partnerships with the Island cities, a representative of the nonprofit told Holmes Beach commissioners last week.

The staff and board of the Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, have good relationships with their municipal partners, Center board of trustees chair Tom Breiter told a Sept. 9 meeting of city commissioners.

But the relationships could be strengthened, he added.

Breiter stressed that the Center’s program offerings, especially its recreational programs, help the Island cities fulfill requirements in the Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach comprehensive plans mandated by the state of Florida.

“The Center,” Breiter said, “can help deliver services probably more effectively than all three cities can do on their own.”

The Island cities budget funding for the Center, providing about 6 percent of the Center’s annual budget. Manatee County’s contribution is 15 percent of the Center budget; fundraising events, 28 percent; membership and fees, 27 percent; endowment income, 4 percent and United Way, grants and donations, 20 percent.

Contributions to the Center this year are down.

“It’s a pretty tough environment for most businesses and nonprofits are no exception,” Breiter said. “We have seen our revenues go down. We have pared back our budget to a level of four years ago.”

Breiter said to deal with a decline in revenues, the Center has not filled all personnel vacancies. “Our staff is doing a little bit more,” he said.

Breiter said he wanted to provide commissioners with a “State of the Center” as part of the board’s efforts to improve communication efforts between the nonprofit organization and the cities.

He added, “We are not asking for money from the city.”

But, said Breiter, there may be grants that municipalities can apply for that the Center cannot go after.

“We are,” he said, asking for help, maybe some creative thought in finding new sources of revenue.… There may be grants that a city might be eligible for that a nonprofit cannot ask for.”

Commissioners responded with praise for the Center and its mission.

“You guys do a wonderful job,” said Commissioner David Zaccagnino, whose daughter is involved in Center activities.

As the meeting was taking place last week, Commissioner John Monetti’s son was practicing with a Center soccer team at a nearby field.

Monetti said that, with the range in his kids’ ages, “You are always going to have a Monetti.”