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Sunshine Center Capital Campaign 2024
As the Sunshine Center approaches its 50th Anniversary in three years, it is important to recognize the
ongoing need for support from members and the community, to be sustainable in the future. I have
travelled across the country and visited senior centers from Alaska to Maine and Texas to South Carolina
and have seen how successful senior centers have been creative in developing ongoing financial support
from their stakeholders. Most senior centers have government funding that provides budgets for basic
operations; but all senior centers depend on support from their volunteers, boards, Friends Groups, and
the community at large to maintain their sustainability in the future. They have developed specific fund-
raising events, capital campaigns, planned giving programs, foundations, revenue generating operations,
grants and corporate sponsorships which helps them continue to provide valuable services and activities
for the seniors in their communities.
The Sunshine Center has benefited greatly from the City’s support since we opened a new two-story
facility with a $500,000 community block grant in 1977. The center expanded with a $617,507 Older
Americans Act grant in 1982 bringing our total square footage to 20,000. But since then, several
attempts to get on the City’s Penny for Pinellas capital project list (every 10 years) for major
improvements, expansion or new facilities has been unsuccessful. We also missed out on securing capital
improvement funding from two state grant projects in 2007 and 2008 specifically for senior center
capital projects. The City did spend over $1,000,000 on renovating the three Mirror Lake Club facilities
in 2009 which are now part of the Sunshine Center complex.
We have also been fortunate to have very generous support for the Sunshine Center through ongoing
donations from our membership, volunteers, estate donations, grants, planned giving contributions,
business sponsorships, etc. We had an ongoing “Forever Sunshine” donation campaign which raised
almost $1,000,000 over a 25-year period. These funds were used for discretionary funding not covered
in the regular budget for needed improvements, special projects and other options that benefited the
So, in that spirit of giving, the Friends of the Sunshine Center has established a separate Capital
Campaign interest-bearing fund that is focused on the future development and expansion of the
Sunshine Center to meet the needs of seniors in St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas. We are
starting out small with $5,000 currently in the fund as a starting point, but plan to continually build that
fund for several years. Hopefully, by our 50th anniversary we will have a substantial amount positioning
ourselves to negotiate with the City to provide matching funds for major renovations and expansion
from the next Penny for Pinellas capital opportunity which should be in 2030.
Jay Morgan – Friends of the Sunshine Center Board Member