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Anonymous donor boosts DLCCC endowment fund

Good news for the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center -- thanks to a major donation by an anonymous Detroit Lakes couple, its endowment fund is up to $130,000.

An additional $15,000 has been committed to the endowment, but not yet paid.

"Our absolute goal is to grow the endowment in excess of $1 million," said Community Center CEO Stu Omberg. "Our intent is not to ever have to touch the principal -- only the gain and growth will be used to fund operations, so those who have given know their money is still sitting there in principal."

The endowment, which is administered by the West Central Initiative, will allow the community center "to do more with theater productions than we would without the endowment," Omberg said.

While the fitness and aquatics center is financially self-sufficient, the Historic Holmes Theatre -- like performing arts operations in most places -- needs more fiscal help, Omberg said.

The endowment will help, and it would also help if more people took advantage of the quality productions that come to Detroit Lakes, Omberg said.

"The quality of shows that Amy (Stearns) brings into the theater are always extremely high," he said. "The rave reviews from the audience are always there -- we just need the support of the public to come out and see the show."

The DL couple that gave the endowment took advantage of a special year-end giving opportunity: The Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Those who don't need all the assets in their IRA can request an IRA charitable distribution, free of income tax complications.

Here are the requirements:

n You must be at least 70-and-a-half years old at the time of the gift.

n You must have a traditional Roth IRA.

n Each person can give up to $100,000 per year for 2006 and 2007.

n You must request a direct transfer of funds to a qualified public charity, not to a private foundation or donor advised fund.

n Your IRA withdrawal is not added to your gross taxable income and is not taxed.

"Your endowment will advance the long-term financial security of the community center, but specifically the theater," Omberg said.

The community center recently received more good news in the form of a $52,000 grant from a private foundation that wishes to remain anonymous .

That money will go towards fitness equipment, existing programming, and youth swimming.

The new fitness equipment will include two stair-steppers, one or two treadmills and perhaps a recumbent bike.

The program support is for registration software, computer equipment and education and training.

The youth aqua equipment will include kickboards, aqua dumbbells, sports gear and team supplies, as well as "aqua fit equipment" such as aqua resistance trainers, dumbbells and fins.

The community center now sponsors the Sunfish youth swimming program, which will receive water resistance bands, fins and specialty training equipment.