Donors Kickoff Playground Fundraising

This play equipment planned for Boulder Beach offers something new for both younger and older children. Stand-alone swinging, climbing, and balancing pieces will appeal to the older kids, and provide an approach to the multi-faceted play set. The play set includes two slides, a covered deck area, and a “Big Kahuna” fish climbing bridge. Nearby will be three swings, one enclosed to accommodate toddlers.

By Susan Thompson 

During a six-week period at the end of 2019, 20 couples, individuals and businesses donated nearly $10,000 to Friends of Lake Panorama to fund new playground equipment at Boulder and Shady beaches. 

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity, with a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The Friends board’s current priority project is raising $70,000 for playground equipment, to be split evenly between Boulder and Shady beaches. 

At Shady Beach, existing swings and teeter-totter will be removed to make way for a multi-faceted play set, three swings, and a freestanding “spring rider” designed to accommodate a physically challenged child. The spring rider also has room for two children. 

At Boulder Beach, the gray mountain and play set currently there will remain. The spring horses, tire swing and old bathroom will be removed. A freestanding spring rider similar to the one planned for Shady Beach will be added. A new playground nearby will include a play set with features geared to both older and younger kids, plus three swings.

A Beach Ball fundraising event, similar to ones held in 2016 and 2017, is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2020, with all proceeds going to this playground project. The event will be held at the Lake Panorama National banquet room, with registration and social hour beginning at 5 p.m.

Sponsors are being sought for 30 round tables at a cost of $125. Sponsors are asked to decorate their table with a theme of their choice, and will receive details about decorating guidelines and times when they signup. Some “guest” decorators may be available for those who prefer to donate an additional $25. 

Each table will accommodate eight guests, with meal tickets costing $40. Half of each meal ticket and the full cost of table sponsorships will go directly to the playground fund. Table sponsors are encouraged to find eight guests to fill their table, but organizers will help fill tables as needed. Attendance will be limited to 240 people. 

Additional fundraising activities will include a raffle, silent and live auctions; buy-a-dessert auction; buy-a-beer cup; and a 50/50 raffle. Some additional activities still are being considered.

Ticket sales will begin in mid-February. To help the planning committee, those interested in sponsoring a table, buying meal tickets, or donating items for the raffle, live or silent auctions, and buy-a-dessert auction are asked to send details to

These playground upgrades will continue as the priority project for Friends of Lake Panorama until at least $70,000 is raised and the playgrounds are complete. A sign recognizing all donors of $500 or more will be installed near both playgrounds, with these donors also recognized on the Friends website. No LPA funds are available for this project led by Friends. 

A donation form on the Friends website——provides more details. This form can be printed, completed, and mailed with a check to Friends at PO Box 488, Panora, IA 50216. Donations also can be made by credit card on the Friends website.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, as are direct IRA qualified charitable distributions—for donors over age 70 ½ who are required to take IRA distributions. There are potential tax-saving benefits when considering either of these direct donation strategies. For information, contact Kristen Crouthamel, financial advisor at GCSB Investment Center, at 641-755-2799 or

All donations to Friends of Lake Panorama are tax-deductible. Donors receive a confirmation letter for tax purposes, both for direct donations at any time, plus contributions made as part of the April 18 Beach Ball.