Businesses meet Chamber’s $60K in 60 Days Challenge

VERO BEACH — The challenge?  To raise $60,000 in in 60 days; finalizing the $1.5 million capital campaign goal for the rebuilding of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce offices. The response?  Pledges totaling $60,000 in just over 60 minutes.

Chamber board members Monica Smiley of Costa d’Este Beach Resort and Cheryl Koenes of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort co-chaired an End of Campaign Luncheon attended by more than 200 people Thursday afternoon at the Community Church of Vero Beach Community Hall.  The Chamber was making a final push to meet its capital campaign goal, before the November 30 christening of the Alma Lee Loy Chamber Building.

“We have 60 days before burning the mortgage,” said Smiley.  “There will be a parade on November 30th from the Heritage Center to the Chamber, with Alma Lee Loy leading the pack.”

Pleased that the fundraising effort was drawing to a close, IRC Chamber President Penny Chandler said with a smile, “It’s great to be able to have a celebration to kick off the end of the campaign.”

The initial campaign, started in November, 2007,was led by Jay Hart and Karen Diegl, who were later joined by Susan Schuyler Smith; Alma Lee Loy was the campaign’s Honorary Chairperson.

“Pledged contributions came in like clockwork,” said former Chamber Board President Bill Curtis, who emceed the sold-out luncheon.

Major contributions and matching gift challenges from donors such as Bob Brackett and his family brought the effort to just shy of the $1.5 million goal.

Board member Jeff Schlitt gave a brief history of the Chamber and of the many contributions made to the community by the ageless and delightful Alma Lee Loy.  Loy has given unselfishly of her time as a leader and mentor of the Chamber of Commerce for 50 years.  Her countless civic endeavors, honors and awards were listed on handouts given to guests.

Indian River Foundation Executive Director Kerry Bartlett had the honor of introducing Loy and the room responded with a heartfelt standing ovation.

“I do have a love affair with Vero Beach and Indian River County,” said Loy.  “I thank you for honoring me with a lasting tribute.  My heart is filled with appreciation and love for you all.”

Bob Brackett asked attendees to not walk away from the challenge of raising the final amount needed.  “Let’s get it done.”

Just prior to the close of the event, Curtis noted that sponsorships from the luncheon had raised $20,000.

Carrie Ludicke of the New Vision Eye Center got the ball rolling by announcing that the Minotti Family Foundation was pledging $25,000 and, as attendees began making pledges of $1,000 and $500, it soon became clear that the $60,000 goal would be met that day.

“I think we’ve got it done guys,” said Curtis to thunderous applause. {igallery 269}

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