Friends of Lake Panorama Making Push for Sunset Playground Donations

Statistics show a high percentage of charitable contributions are made in the last few weeks of the year. Friends of Lake Panorama is a relatively new option for charitable giving, having just received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in July 2014.

The nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and is operated by a seven-member board of volunteers who are LPA members. The group’s goal is to improve recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible, and all donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

Members of the Friends board attended the October meeting of the LPA Board of Directors. Kirk Fischer, president of the Friends board, provided an update on activities, including the fact the group has raised $30,000 from 47 donors for a destination playground at Sunset Beach.

Fischer asked the LPA board to consider a matching grant in its 2016 capital budget for the playground. He asked if Friends raised another $50,000 for the playground, would the LPA match that amount. After discussion, the LPA board gave unanimous approval to provide $50,000 if Friends raises $50,000 by August 1, 2016.

LPA members should already have received a mailing from Friends with information on the Sunset Beach playground. The playground is geared to ages 5 through 12, and has a play capacity of 165. The area covered by play equipment will be 60'x53' with a larger protective surface area of 72'x66'.

The main play structure includes multiple slides, bridges and climbing opportunities. Several smaller play structures surround the main area, including hop rocks, bongo stumps, and modern takes on the old-fashioned merry-go-round and teeter-totter.

Fischer says the goal of the Friends board is to raise its $50,000 for the Sunset Beach playground by April. “That way we can get the matching $50,000 from the LPA and build this fantastic playground for use in 2016,” he says. “Perhaps donors will want to split their contribution, making a 2015 tax-deductible contribution now, and a 2016 tax-deductible contribution in January.”

Donations also can be made to six separate funds or a combination of funds. There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach, Sunset Beach, Panorama West, and Lake Panorama National. Money donated to any of these funds will be used at the discretion of the Friends board.

One change from the 2014 fundraising effort is a decision by the Friends board to no longer solicit money for the LPN sports courts. Renovating the two existing tennis courts at the LPN, plus adding a basketball court, was promoted in its first year of fundraising. While 19 donors did contribute to the proposed project, it didn’t generate enough interest to be viable.

The LPA board now is discussing installing tennis and basketball courts at Boulder Beach in 2017 or 2018. Since the location and scope of the project has changed, donors to the LPN sports courts are being contacted to confirm their donations can be used to purchase “extras” such as nets and baskets for new courts at Boulder Beach.

For donations by check, the mailing includes a form that can be completed and returned with a check. A donation form also is available on the Friends website. Or donations can be accepted electronically on the website at

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

All donors of $500 or more will be recognized on the Friends website and in future publicity. Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. A sign recognizing donors of $500 or more will be erected near the Sunset Beach playground. Donor recognition levels are Friend, $500-999; Steward, $1,000-4,999; Benefactor, $5,000-9,999; Leader, $10,000-24,999; and Champion, $25,000-49,000.

Questions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama can be directed to Susan Thompson at 641-755-4382 or