‘Quiet phase’ of fireworks campaign shoots goal upward

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held a donor recognition and campaign announcement event, called a “Blast Off,” to thank donors who have made initial gifts to the Ignite Clear Lake campaign and to share the “quiet phase” 

results for the campaign.  During a seven-week solicitation period, starting in early August, more than $748,000 has been committed in cash and five-year pledges to the Fireworks Endowment fund to ensure the continuity of the Fourth of July fireworks.  


“The audience was very surprised at the amount raised in such a short time of active solicitation” in the ‘quiet phase,’” said Tim Coffey, Chamber executive director.  “We have been testing a $1 million goal in this phase of the campaign and have exceeded our expectations, so we have proposed a $1.2 million goal to be completed by next July 4.”

At the Blast Off celebration, Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb spoke about the importance of the fireworks in the community and its identity to the community and the $10 million economic development impact it has on the local business community.  Representative Linda Upmeyer and Senator Amanda Ragan spoke about the Endow Iowa feature of the campaign in conjunction with the Cerro Gordo Community Foundation, where donors can take advantage of a 25 percent state tax credit through the Endow Iowa program.

Co-Chairs Casey Callanan and Mark Ebeling also thanked those donors present for their generosity in ensuring that the fireworks continue.

Callanan gave a brief history of how this campaign began, with a gift from the estate of Arlene Hughes’ family earmarked for the fireworks.  “Through the generosity of the Arlene Hughes bequest, the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce established the Clear Lake Fireworks Endowment fund.  I was privileged to be on the Chamber Board at the time and helped to begin this wonderful project.  As of the end of May of this year, the fund balance had grown to $51,833,” Callanan reported.

Ebeling spoke about the role of the Chamber Board in the campaign. 

“I cannot tell how proud I am of the Chamber Board and their participation in their very first fundraising campaign of this type.  We have had 100 percent participation of giving from our Board, totaling $84,000. That represents one of the major giving levels of this campaign.  As the incoming president of the Chamber Board, I am excited about the progress we have achieved during this very short time frame, under current Board President Nate Carney’s Board term. As Co-Chair of this campaign, I can express our goal to finish strong and be successful in reaching our targeted goal of $1 million with a stretch goal of $1.2 million to be raised by July 4, 2014.”

Ebeling and Callanan, along with their spouses, Kristin and Hunter, expressed their gratitude to the campaign donors and campaign volunteers for their help up to this point.


Those wishing to make a gift and receive Endow Iowa tax credit can call Chamber Director Tim Coffey at the Chamber office, 357-2159.

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