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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

$50,000 challenge to benefit Center

Islanders Chuck and Joey Lester have renewed and redoubled their challenge for donations to the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

It's $50,000 this year, compared with half that of previous challenges in most previous years. It means the Lesters will match every donation, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $50,000 - $100,000 possible for the Center.

The money will go to the Center's endowment trust, said Pierrette Kelly, executive director of the Center in Anna Maria. The fund is invested and the capital never touched by the Center, she said, but the income is "extremely welcome and useful for paying expenses."

The $50,000 challenge is apart from the Center's continuing operations fund which finances programs, and from the capital fund, which will pay for expansion and improvements to be made to the buildings.

Kelly said the challenge will begin "when the story appears in The Islander," which is traditionally partner of the Lesters in the drive. It will continue until Dec. 31.

The Lesters spend summers in their native Wisconsin and winters in Holmes Beach, where they have just returned "in time to give Jim Taylor some business repairing our dock after the hurricanes," Chuck Lester said.

Donations may be discussed with Center staff by calling 778-1908 or The Islander at 778-7978.

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