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Civic tackles fundraising challenges as pandemic continues

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Feb 17, 2021


The North Fort Myers Civic Association under new president Danny Ballard is going to do things in a brisk manner, with little wasted time.

Ballard ran his first meeting on Feb. 9 at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center and came through on his promise to make meetings move more quickly.

Ballard, who was elected the new president after the three-year reign of Doug Dailey, is going to have a tough act to follow, with COVID putting a wrench into things.

He believes he is up to the challenge.

“I want to try to keep the meeting moving. If we need to get into a discussion, I don’t want time to be a constraint,” Ballard said. “I thought the meeting went well. I expected a lot of talk about the budget. We got done at 8:20 p.m. because the county wants us out at 8:30.”

Indeed, the committee reports were much shorter, as was new business. The 2021 budget is what dominated the meeting, with serious question marks regarding whether the Wiffle Ball Bash, which has been the biggest fundraiser in the group’s history, will be held because of COVID and whether it will move from February to May.

“About $5,500 is projected to be raised from Wiffle Ball. If we don’t have it, we’ll have to seriously cut out some stuff,” Ballard said. “We also need laptops, so I’m hoping we could use the money we have in the bank to buy those.”

In the meantime, the civic association got a foot up by holding a rather impromptu raffle for about $180 dollars worth of scratch-off lottery tickets. The idea was created by Vice President Christy Lee Iwanow, and originally was to hold a raffle for a weekend in a hotel on Sanibel, but was rejected due to COVID.

The raffle was a big success, with more than $700 raised.

“If we did four of these per year, we could raise $4,000. We could do these if we lose Wiffle Ball, we could still raise money,” Ballard said, adding that he could do what the North Fort Myers Rotary is doing by giving away a wheelbarrow full of adult beverages.

Ballard said he will continue to attend Bord of County Commissioner meetings and any other meeting with a North Fort Myers interest. The organization hopes it can continue to serve the area as it did the past few years under Dailey.

“There will be some battles, especially over the budget. But when you propose something new, there is always resistance. The laptops are needed so we can do notes of the meetings,” Ballard said.