Friends talks finances for 2017-18

December 22, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
Our program for the 2017/18 season is off to a great start. We hope you have seen a copy of Happenings, our program guide, which is now a 44-page magazine about all the programs offered at the Community Center. If you don’t already have one, please be sure to pick one up. Our season began in November with a two-day symposium on World War I, featuring renowned historians Margaret MacMillan and Jay Winter, who described the great changes of the early 20th century, many of which we live with today, to a sold-out audience. We are so grateful to the more than 70 sponsors for making this program such a tremendous success.
What is new this year? We have expanded our music and entertainment programs and will be offering three free concerts “on the green.” We had hoped that our new sunshade over the outdoor stage would have been constructed in time for this season. Our architect’s plans have been approved by the Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board; however, Lee County has decided to take leadership over the construction and will require county commission approval before construction can begin – hopefully in the spring.
Also new is a lecture series on Global Issues and how these are affecting our lives, featuring M. Sanjayan on conservation, Martin Walker on U.S. strategy since 1945, John Pomfret on the China–America relationship, and Dr. Robert Barylski on Putin and Russia’s national interests. The response has already been so positive that we are considering a small symposium on this topic in 2019. And there is so much more.
The Friends continue to invest in capital improvements at the Community Center. In addition to committing $175,000 toward the sunshade project, this year we are installing new camera equipment in the sound booth to allow more professional filming and simulcast of programs.
Still, funding continues to be our biggest challenge. Our goal this year is to raise $574,000 to meet our expanded programing costs. With your help we have already raised over $231,000 in donations and sponsorships. But we have a long way to go to reach our goal before the end of the fiscal year, which ends in June 2018.
We write in this annual appeal to ask you to dig deep and see if you can exceed the generous donation that you made last year that enabled us to meet our financial goals and carry out our mission to create the best cultural and educational programs for Boca Grande.
You and others who contribute to the Friends are some of the most generous people in our community. Thank you for supporting the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center this year and for all you do to make Boca Grande such a very special place.
Warm Regards,
Michael Alexander, Chair of the Board
Stan Ikenberry, Chair of Development