At its June 15 board meeting, the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors voted to take steps to promote additional donations for a playground at Sunset Beach.

One step is a letter that will arrive soon in the mailboxes of all Lake Panorama property owners. In the letter, Kirk Fischer, current president of the Friends board, said “everyone within the Lake Panorama community has a vested interest in recreational amenities that contribute to the community’s ongoing success.”

It’s been just one year since the IRS granted Friends of Lake Panorama tax-exempt status. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, which is focused on improving recreational amenities, is separate from the Lake Panorama Association.

The Friends board kicked off its first fundraising campaign last fall with a similar mailing. “We were pleased when more than $35,000 was donated in the last six weeks of 2014,” Fischer said. “The project that received the most support is a new destination playground at Sunset Beach. About $25,000 has been raised so far for the playground.”

The original playground bid of $112,900 has been extended through 2015, but the vendor has said there will be a price increase in 2016. Fischer said the Friends board hopes to raise enough funds this year to lock in the current price.

Statistics show a high percentage of charitable contributions are made in the last few weeks of each year. Perhaps it’s the holiday spirit, or a desire to get a final tax deduction, or both.

Fischer said the Friends board is asking LPA members to consider getting into the holiday spirit this summer, and make a 2015 charitable contribution now, rather than waiting until December.

“Your support will help us move forward with this new playground that will be enjoyed by your children and grandchildren in 2016 and for many years to come,” he said.

The playground is geared to ages 5-12, and has a play area capacity of 165. The area covered by equipment will be 60 feet by 53 feet, with a larger protective surface area of 72 feet by 66 feet. The main play structure includes multiple slides, bridges and climbing opportunities. Several smaller play structures surround the main area, including a modern take on old-fashioned merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters.

Fischer said the Friends board is fully committed to raising enough money for the complete playground. However, to help advance this project, they will consider building the playground in two phases, if necessary. The mailing LPA members will receive shows both the full playground, and a possible first phase, which could be built for $50,000.

A form sent with the letter outlines the ways donations can be made to Friends of Lake Panorama. Cash, check, credit card, securities transfers and estate gifts all are welcome. Donations can be given in someone’s memory or in honor of someone.

All contributions to Friends of Lake Panorama are tax deductible, and all donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt. Only donations of $500 or more receive public recognition. Donations of $50,000 or more will receive special recognition, with the possibility of naming rights for a particular project.

Other donor recognition levels are: Champion - $25,000 - $49,999; Leader - $10,000 - $24,999; Benefactor - $5,000 - $9,999; Steward - $1,000 - $4,999; and Friend - $500 - $999.

More details about Friends of Lake Panorama, including a list of recognized donors and additional projects it supports, are on the charity’s website at