Bob Pitman has heard the adage that one must play the cards that are dealt.
But he politely disagrees when it comes to nonprofits’ bottom line.
So he and his board at Mill Race Center have decided to gamble on a new fundraiser: the White River Classic No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament set June 30.
They’re hoping to have at least 120 players sign up by the Tuesday deadline.
“We were looking not only for something we believe has never been done here but also something that might attract younger seniors and boomers — and something that has real potential to grow,” Pitman said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: White River Classic No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament.
WHEN: June 30. Registration and player check-in, 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.; shuffling and dealing at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Mill Race Center, 900 Lindsey St.
COST: Initial buy-in is $100. Five hundred extra chips available the day of the event for $25. “Sit and Go” Games will be available for $25 per game.
INFORMATION: 376-9241 or millracecenter.org.
He is executive director of the Bartholomew County agency for people 50 and older. It boasts 2,400 members.
But it also is using money from its sale last year of Cambridge Square Apartments to cover operating expenses this year at its 16-month-old, $7.8 million building. Mill Race leaders knew the new structure, much larger than the old center at the turn-of-the-century city powerhouse, would cost more to operate.
But they want to avoid resorting to reserve funds to cover expenses. Plus, Mill Race leaders want to help the Just Friends Adult Day Services program that operates in a wing of their building. Pitman was integral to its launch 25 years ago and believes passionately in its role to care for adults in fragile health who cannot be left at home alone during the day.
He calls it “an organization that has made a major difference” for many.
Same for Mill Race Center, offering activities such as local and international travel options, exercise, meals, support groups, crafts, and more. Among the oldest senior organizations in the state, it aims to keep the older population actively involved in the community.
“We always knew we would have to work hard here to generate additional income through memberships, rentals, program fees and fundraisers,” Pitman said.
He figures the effort is worth it, because the new structure has allowed the organization to increase its offerings substantially because of additional space and the multipurpose layout of the new center.
The tournament will feature prize money based on the number of players. Organizers are uncertain what specific response to expect.
But, given televised poker’s growing popularity, they’re optimistic.
“We’ve done just about everything we can do to promote it,” said Paula Herlitz, Mill Race development director.
Ideally, Herlitz said organizers would like to see 225 players.
Illinois-based Casino Party Planners is working with Mill Race to set up the gathering.
Columbus’ Bud Kincaid has spent recent days training 50 volunteer dealers for the event.
He believes the environment, enhanced by professional poker table and chips, will have a World Series of Poker feel.
“Well, with not quite the same stakes,” Kincaid said with a laugh.
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