Sunset Beach Playground Donations Continue

Another $2,200 in donations was received in the first six weeks of 2016 to support a new destination playground at Sunset Beach. Friends of Lake Panorama now has raised $57,000 towards its goal of $80,000 for the playground. 

The first $30,000 was raised in late 2014 through August 2015. A mailing to LPA members last November announced Friends is working to raise an additional $50,000. The Lake Panorama Association board voted to match that amount if the money is raised no later than August 1, 2016.

Since the first of this year, there have been three $500 donors, and four donors who gave $100 each. Another $300 came from The Port, which hosted a Super Bowl Party February 7, with a portion of the proceeds going to the playground project.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All contributions are tax deductible, and donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt. The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. 

In January, Friends made a down payment on the playground equipment to avoid a 5 percent price increase that would have occurred. Kirk Fischer, president of the Friends board of directors, encourages donors to make a 2016 tax-deductible contribution now so the playground can be installed this summer. 

“We know people often wait until the end of the year to make their charitable contributions,” Fischer says. “But we’re asking past donors to make another tax-deductible donation this spring. And we’re asking new donors to join existing donors to help us raise the final amount needed.”

While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. In addition, a sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the playground. 

A special fundraising event is planned for Friday, May 6, at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center. Plans include a dinner, raffles, silent and live auctions and live music. If money still is needed to reach the playground goal, proceeds will go to that fund. If that goal has been reached, proceeds will be used for other projects endorsed by the Friends board.

Sponsors and hosts will be sought for 30 tables of eight. Each table will be individually decorated with a different theme. Sponsors will be able to choose whether to do their own decorating, or have a volunteer do this, and participants will vote on a “People’s Choice” award for the best-decorated table. Ticket sales will get underway in March, and donated items are being sought for the raffle and auctions.

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

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Donations by check can be mailed to Friends of Lake Panorama, PO Box 488, Panora, IA 50216. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the Friends website

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.

In addition to the Sunset Beach playground, 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 these will be used at the discretion of the Friends board.

Questions or suggestions can be emailed to The website is