Carolina Public Press: U.S. Cellular Center to issue open call to nonprofits

Here’s an excerpt from the Carolina Public Press article:

According to a recent review by the city of Asheville, the U.S. Cellular Center’s program to help local nonprofits raise funds by staffing concession stands is mostly on target. The audit, conducted at the request of the facility’s general manager, also found that the effort could use some improvements, with key concerns centering around transparency and how cash from the concessions is processed. …

The fundraising program for volunteer groups has operated since 2010. Under it, nonprofit organizations help staff concession stands at large-scale events, taking a small cut of the proceeds and tips.

A-B Tech’s award-winning culinary program has used the arrangement to help pay for trips to cooking contests in New Orleans. And when North Buncombe High School’s band plays in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii on Dec. 7, it will do so with funds raised in part through the program.

Fourteen organizations, from youth sports clubs to a veterans-support group and even the U.S. Air Force, have participated thus far, raising a total of roughly $100,000 to fund various initiatives. (See the report below for a full list of participating groups.)

Still, the city’s review noted, the fundraising option has been largely under the public’s radar. It has “relied on word of mouth in order to publicize program,” the report stated, and “new groups are not necessarily recruited, but rather, must learn of the program on their own and then connect with staff in order to become involved.”

Furthermore, the report noted, “the selection process and criteria for nonprofit groups lacks transparency and leads some groups to question why they are not selected.”

The auditors recommended that the U.S. Cellular Center ramp up its outreach about the program, through its website and via social media and other means.

… In response, the center will issue an open call to groups this fall, and do so on an annual or biannual basis, depending on the facility’s needs for volunteer help.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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