There having been some twittering about our wondering in the last issue of Village Views that perhaps in these troubled times there might be some uncertainty about the Carrollwood Cultural Center’s (Center’s1) financial future, let us begin by commending all concerned for a splendid first quarter performance. With some 56 percent of the Center’s income contingent on operating and contributions income, it is comforting that January-March income seems to place the Center on track to meet annual income targets.
Given the shrinking economy, that speaks well not only of staff and volunteer efforts, but most importantly of the support from the surrounding community — support without which the Center cannot survive.
Where are Members? Judging from membership numbers, not surprisingly, some two-thirds of Center members live in zip code areas 33618 and 33624 — core of greater Carrollwood. What is surprising is that at its first anniversary, less than 3 percent of households in that core have become Center members. Ten percent (2,700) would be a respectable goal for 2009. Again, without your support the Center cannot survive.
Seeing how the median age in this area is 36.5 years, it is also surprising that so few of the 35-59 age group are seen at the Center. A fair number of those who look pretty much like the three of us are attending performances and classes — are a good number of kids attending classes — but relatively few of the middle-age cohort have demonstrated much interest. No one knows why. There is a theory that these folks are simply too busy getting on with their lives to become involved with culture. Another theory — supported by the often noted demand for quality-of-life amenities — has it that the Center may not be offering programming that appeals to these folks. Clearly, whatever the case, some hard thinking is needed here.
Let there be no doubt about it, the lifeblood of the Center is the community it serves. As representatives of our three Village homeowners associations on the Center’s Board of Directors, we are committed to seeing to it that the Center is serving each of you. If you have not done so, we urge you to come by and find out what this project is all about. If you have suggestions for how it can better serve you, we want to hear them.
Support Opportunities. At the same time, we would remind you that the Center cannot live on the County management fee alone — nor indeed would it be right to look to County taxpayers to foot the whole bill for operation of the Center. Being a community project, it is important that each of us contributes to the Center’s financial well being. Aside from attending programs, the easiest way to do this is by becoming a family (or corporate) member. Or, for the modest fee of $250 you can name a Main Hall chair. Beyond that, room naming rights are still available, as are endowment opportunities. Should you need further information concerning a contribution, we will be pleased to talk with you.