AMI Center Community,
Thank you for all the positive messages of support and encouragement over these last few days. We are grateful to have such a strong AMI community – supporting each other and The Center.
We’re all in this together. And in times like this, our community is more important than ever.
On Friday, March 20th at 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all gyms and fitness centers to shut down. The move was part of an executive order released that also mandated all restaurants and food establishments in Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption, effective immediately.
This unprecedented order ceases all operations at The Center effective immediately. For the first time in our 60 years of existence, The Center and our staff are not able to serve the community that we love. The Center Staff, Management and Board are heartbroken.
We know you’d prefer to be here with us, working out, attending a group fitness class or having your children surrounded by their friends, playing sports, learning and growing in our youth or family programs. But our overall safety is paramount.
We are forever grateful for the community support that allowed The Center to turn the corner financially over these past few years and we are hopeful such support continues during this difficult time so that we might reopen our doors as soon as possible to once again serve our AMI community for another 60 years.
As The Center responds to our community’s needs during this unprecedented time, we ask that you retain your membership with us. Not as a facility member, but as a cause-driven member. We ’re asking that you stay with us, as we respond to and support our neighbors and community – together.
With our temporary suspension of facility access and programs, we are actively working to make our facility available to provide child care for our medical professionals, first responders, and other critical support organizations.
Staying with us ensures The Center remains strong during this difficult time and is poised to come back quickly and support our community who need us most.
Our website is the best place to stay up to date with the latest Center information. Please visit www.CenterAMI.org to stay up to date.
Our focus on The Center’s Mission remains unwavering even in these unsteady times.
Thank you for your partnership, your support, and your trust.
Stay safe y’all.
Christopher M Culhane
The Center of Anna Maria Island | 407 Magnolia Ave, PO Box
After thorough search by The Center Hiring Committee Christopher Culhane named Executive Director
Anna Maria, FL (February 16, 2018) The Board of Directors of The Center of Anna Maria Island is pleased to announce the appointment of life long islander Christopher Culhane as the organization’s new Executive Director.
The search for Executive Director began this past February after Kristen Lessig resigned from the leadership role. The Board of Directors quickly formed a Hiring Committee and hired HR consultant Margaret Beck to fill the vacant position. The Committee included Center Board Members Karen Harllee, David Zaccagnino, John Munn, business owner Barbara Sato, and County Commissioner Steve Jonsson. Margaret Beck is a senior human resources professional who brought over 25 years of experience to the committee. Beck has lived in the area for over 30 years and has done recruitment for numerous organizations within the area.
The Center received over 170 applicants for the position. Each resume was evaluated to see if they met the qualifications and characteristics The Center was looking for in the new Executive Director. Applicants were then narrowed down through phone interviews by Beck. Then meeting to discuss the candidates, the committee did a series of in depth face to face interviews with the finalists. After a long and thorough search the Board of Directors voted and confirmed the committee’s decision and choice to make Christopher Culhane The Center’s next Executive Director.
David Zaccagnino – Board Chairman states:
“Thanks to the leadership from the prior Board of Directors and former Executive Director Kristen Lessig, the Center is in a great position, and is excited to seamlessly promote from within. After an extensive search and many months of committee work, Chris Culhane came out as our top choice. He has proven himself over the years and has earned the opportunity of Executive Director.
During the past couple months, Chris has been working closely with interim Executive Director, Carl Weeks, the Finance committee, the Board of Directors, and several grant & fundraising committees. He is a natural and has stepped into the leadership position with purpose. We are pleased to have Chris as our new Executive Director. Come up to the Center and give him a high five. “
Christopher Culhane has been a life long island resident and is humbled by The Boards appointment. For more information please refer to the brief introduction letter, along with several pictures of him as a child at The Center.
About The Center of Anna Maria Island
The Center of Anna Maria Island is a nonprofit community center on Florida’s Anna Maria Island, focusing on the community and welcoming all, as the community’s gathering place. Its mission is to enhance the overall well-being of individuals of all ages—serving children, teens, families, adults and senior citizens—while preserving a sense of community through creative programs and partnerships. The Center strives for excellence to meet the human service needs of all those living on or near the barrier island. Known as the community’s gathering place, the Center is open to all. It is often seen as an “Educational Center,” “Recreational Center,” “Youth/Teen Center,” “Fitness Center” and “Senior Citizen Center.” The Center is all of these and much more. Join programs, sports, events, and learn more at www.centerami.org. The Center of Anna Maria is located at 407 Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria. Contact The Center at 941)778-1908 or [email protected].
Dear Center Community,
It is with great pleasure that I have accepted the offer which has been bestowed upon me by The Center’s Board of Directors and the Hiring Committee to become The Center of Anna Maria Island’s next Executive Director. I am humbled and ultimately grateful for the opportunity and I would like to thank The Board, The Committee, local business owners that participated in the search, the dedicated staff, and the AMI community as a whole.
As many of you may know, I am of a thinning breed of native islanders that grew up here in this tiny piece of paradise. The Center was truly my backyard. If I was not biking the 7 mile stretch of the island or swinging from a tree, I was definitely at The Center engaging with my island community, playing sports or just simply having fun. Proudly, The Center still provides these same attributes today and my three children are lucky enough to get to experience what I once had. Over the past four decades, I have been an active participant in the community and at The Center by either coaching, volunteering or just playing sports. Almost three years ago I accepted an administrative position which furthered my involvement with The Center and it has been a road of growth, learning and development. Now as Executive Director I pledge to steer our Center to a path of sustainable success as we enter this next phase of history.
Upon accepting this position, I will have the urgency to visit goals I would like to see for The Center. And over the next weeks, I will be meeting with our board, our dynamite team, our local business leaders, and other community members to get feedback on how we can ultimately achieve a “best in class” facility the entire community can be proud of. Some items we will be addressing in the short term are: Interviewing and hiring for our current vacant staff positions, preparing for summer camp to give the children the greatest opportunities and experiences imaginable, and finalizing next fiscal year’s budget with The Board and finance committee.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.” ~Maya Angelou
I love this community and I love The Center. With the goals set high we will be working with our integral community leaders, The Board, and The Center Team to review the strategic plan in order to build a sustainable model that drives The Center to success and truly leaves a legacy…a legacy that will hopefully inspire executive directors all the way down the line.
Christopher M Culhane
The Center of Anna Maria Island Earns COVETED 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator
Demonstrating financial accountability and good governance, Largest independent charity evaluator gives Center exceptional rating
Anna Maria, FL (February 19, 2018) – The Center of Anna Maria Island’s strong financial health, and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.
This is the first time the Center has earned this top distinction.
“The Center of Anna Maria Island’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds the Center of Anna Maria Island to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the Center of Anna Maria Island.”
The Center’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on www.charitynavigator.org. More-detailed information about the Center’s rating is available to Charity Navigator site visitors who become registered users, another free service.
“Since becoming the Center’s executive director three years ago, it has been a priority for our donors to trust that we’re using their donations wisely to fulfil the Center’s mission—to enhance the overall well-being of individuals of all ages, while preserving a sense of community through creative programs and partnerships,” said Kristen Lessig, Executive Director, The Center of Anna Maria Island. “Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates and reconfirms to our supporters the Center’s good governance and financial accountability.”
Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability and Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, Charity Navigator upgraded its methodology for rating each charity’s’ financial health with CN 2.1. These enhancements further substantiates the financial health of our four star charities.
The Center’s exceptional Charity Navigator rating comes on the heels of positive financial and membership news at the close of 2017, with a $130,000 donation, record enrollment and participation that nearly doubled during the year. It also follows the award of two new grants, being named in a trust, and notified as the recipient of a donation from the sale of a local estate—all in early 2018.
This follows the announcement that the Center’s executive director, Kristen Lessig, accepted a new position with the Sarasota YMCA, after successfully rehabilitating the Center to its current financially positive standing. Under Lessig’s leadership, and working in very close step with the Board, the Center paid off its $1.1 million commercial loan.
About Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health, and Accountability and Transparency of more than 8,000 charities. Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a 501 (c) (3) public charity itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America’s charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 101, Glen Rock, NJ, 07452.
The Center of Anna Maria Island, located at 407 Magnolia Avenue on Anna Maria, is GETTING FIT FOR OUR COMMUNITY!! We are excited to announce that Island Fitness will soon be joining the Center as we work to fulfill our mission to enhance the overall wellbeing of individuals of all ages while preserving a sense of community through creative programs and partnerships. Following an operational review several weeks ago and a strategic analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats- the team at the Center, including key members of the staff, board, community, and city of Anna Maria identified the need to work more collaboratively within the community, driving partnerships to be even more successful in serving as a resource for overall wellness in our community. Further, the Center is grateful for the opportunity to be able to assist a local island business.
The Center and Island Fitness are currently working through the specifics of the partnership agreement, as it relates to the transition of Island Fitness members. In the meantime, we are welcome all Island Fitness members to come in and tour the facility, trial one of our amazing classes. Additional details and finalized timeline will be released to both member groups via email.
Anna Maria CrossFit will still remain a key Center partner offering close to 30 hours of direct programming to benefit the Center and its membership development efforts. Additionally, Anna Maria CrossFit will be able to focus efforts on growing its active membership base with the inclusion of Cross Fit Kids programs beginning in November.
The Center is always looking for ways to team up with other partners and businesses to improve our services provided to our community. Quote from Brenda Canning, Island Fitness owner, “ I am looking forward to bringing my years of fitness experience to the community center to both increase the service offerings for Island Fitness members and to the community centers current members. I am confident that through this relationship we will be able to create a mutually beneficial opportunity for growth and community involvement.”
Kristen Lessig, Executive Director of The Center added, “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Brenda and the Island Fitness team. The Center team is looking forward to expanding our reach within the community through true collaboration. Brenda has an amazing reputation and following in the community, as well as expertise in the fitness industry that will add great value to the services we provide, while our expansive programs and committed staff will allow for Island Fitness members to truly be part of our efforts to preserve the sense of community on the island.”