“Well, it was my idea and, foolish me, I didn’t realize I’d still be doing it 28 years later,” said civic center board member Claudia Loy. “We charged $15 a head and I think we made $6,000, which was unheard of at the time.”
The now biennial event routinely sells out to 200 guests and is the civic center’s single most important source of funds. The evening includes dinner, a no-host bar, and silent and live auctions. All proceeds benefit the civic center. Each event has had a different theme: This year’s theme is Passport to the World.
“We’re going to have five food stations,” Loy said. “One will be Taylor Shellfish; that’s the Pacific Northwest station. We’ll also have Spain, France, Italy and Asia.” Bainbridge Island caterer and globe-trotting guest chef Marsha Newlands will donate her time and talent to create a wide variety of dishes.
“Our budget is about $10,000 to make this happen and our goal is to net $50,000,” Loy said.
“It has become our biggest fundraiser,” said Mark Roberts, board president. “We only do it every two years because we put so much into it in terms of volunteers, and asking for donations and asking for advertising and asking for sponsors.” The facility would not break-even without this event, he said.
“All the other things that we do are for community enrichment,” said Patty Ghiossi, marketing and facilities coordinator for the civic center. “The dances, the luau, Winter Warm-up, Livable Community Fair, are all community enrichment events that we hope to make money on, but they’re not on the same level as Flavors of Fall. The purpose of this event is solely to support the civic center and get us into the black.”
“The civic center was bought by the community and is supported by the community for the community,” Loy said. “We are here to support our community and we are hoping our community supports us.”
“We subsidize rent to the tune of almost $11,000 a month to people or groups that use our facility, but we take in less than $4,000,” Ghiossi said. “In many cases, we’re giving discounts of maybe 75 percent of what the market rent rate would be.”
The civic center building and grounds are paid for, but substantial ongoing expenses include property tax, insurance and maintenance. Although the KPCC association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, it pays property tax because the facility does not limit its usage to nonprofit groups.
“Because we rent to for-profit businesses, we pay a large amount in taxes that we could avoid if we wanted to restrict our use and not include all of our community,” Ghiossi said. “But that’s not our mission.”
Passport to the World comes to the KP Civic Center Saturday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m. Buy tickets in advance for $50 at Sunnycrest Nursery or the civic center office. For more information, call 884-3456.
“And if you can’t come, you can still donate,” Loy said.