PALM HARBOR — The Palm Harbor Library is undertaking a fundraising campaign and there’s one thing some residents just don’t get, said its, director Gene Coppola. If the library needs money for capital improvements, why on Earth is it giving so much of what it raises right back to the donors? Coppola and the library are promoting a fundraising method borrowed from a fire department in upstate New York that will give 62 percent of the $50,000 raised back in prize money. “My response to why we’re giving away so much of the money is that this is the first time we’re doing it and we’re doing it based on a proven, successful program that’s been done for 22 years elsewhere,” Coppola said.
The contest is set up as a prize drawing with 1,000 tickets to be sold at $50 a pop. Up to five people can get together to purchase each ticket and there will be 28 total winners: $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, $2,500 for third, 10 $750 winners and 15 $400 winners. Sweetening the deal even more, Coppola said, is that winning tickets are immediately re-entered in the raffle, meaning there are multiple opportunities to hit. The impetus for this new fundraiser, aptly named “Raise the Roof,” is library’s need to replace its roof and air conditioning units. The library’s board always kept a replacement-renewal line item in its operating budget for capital projects, but that fund has been essentially drained since 2007 and the global economic recession, Coppola said. The facility’s last major roof and air conditioing project, in 2002, is under warranty until 2022. “However, we’re not going to wait until then to start preparing for that rainy day, so to speak,” Coppola said. “We need to start preparing now.” Hence the yearly fundraisers. Based on this inaugural year’s success, the library may expand it from 1,000 to 2,000 tickets. “First time out of the gate I want to replicate it exactly the same way,” Coppola said. “Why tweak it if it was a success? Maybe in a couple years we’ll tweak it to our liking, but if you have a proven formula there I don’t want to ruin that.” Of the total $50,000 raised from the sale of 1,000 $50 tickets, the roof project will take in $17,500 and another $1,500 will be set aside to cover administrative costs associated with running the fundraiser and its Nov. 15 drawing festivities. The library is in the process of creating a promotional video for the “Raise the Roof” fundraiser. It is also selling $100 advertising space on bookmarks that are handed out at the library. The bookmarks promote “Raise the Roof” alongside the business purchasing the advertising space. To learn more about the fundraiser, call the library at (727) 784-3332, ext. 3006.