Our Hospice working to recoup funds lost by concert cancellation

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COLUMBUS, Ind. — Our Hospice of South Central Indiana staff is working to recoup projected funds washed away by Saturday’s rain and fundraising concert cancellation Saturday at Mill Race Park in downtown Columbus.

Organizers estimate about a $10,000 shortfall from an expected $125,000 to $130,000 be generated, according to Laura Leonard, the nonprofit’s executive director. Proceeds come from corporate sponsorships, cookie sales, raffle and T-shirt sales and other fundraisers.

Raffle ticket sales still were wrapping up Tuesday at the newspaper’s deadline. The Indiana Gaming Commission allowed those sales to be extended.

Organizers canceled the annual Labor Day weekend event about four hours before it was expected to begin after it had rained off and on the previous four hours and the forecast called for more thunderstorms, with the possibility of lightning, just after the concert opening through maybe the first hour of 40 Years of College or headliner Yacht Rock Revue.

“We don’t mind a little bit of rain, but we can’t risk lightning with metal equipment and a metal stage out there,” Leonard said of safety issues for performers and others. “Also, it was very muddy so very muddy.”

A shortfall is especially significant since a medical organization such as Our Hospice has seen its census increasing by about 10 percent especially in surrounding counties in recent years. It treats patients needing everything from palliative care to more intense, end-of-life care.

State stage inspection guidelines since 2012 after the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse must be done days ahead of a concert event, so moving the concert to Columbus North’s Memorial Gym is no longer a realistic, day-of option, organizers said. When the Three Dog Night concert was moved there in 2012 when the spinoff from a hurricane brought excessive rain to the Midwest, it was decided the Wednesday beforehand.

Plus, only 3,000 people attended that event thought to be about 4,000 to 7,000 fewer than the outdoor event attracted most years at that time. That still left hospice with a substantial shortfall.

This time, as hospice volunteers and those with Forvia Faurecia began the concert layout and set-up the day before, everything seemed ideal.

“On Friday, it was beautiful,” Leonard said, adding that Saturday’s forecast was for sunny skies then.

For now, she says the best way people can help the local organization, considered the state’s first of its kind in 1983, is to make donations at ourhospice.org, buy T-shirts at that site, or to support the American Legion Post No. 24’s planned tenderloin dinner beginning at 10:30 a.m. Friday at 2515 25th St. In the past, the post’s fundraising dinners for hospice have generated $8,000 to $9,000. That organization has become known for its successful fundraisers for a range of area nonprofits.

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Republic.