Editor, Townsman:

Thank you for highlighting Andona’s philanthropic efforts over the last 67 years for the youth of Andover in last week’s Townsman. Unfortunately, the article infers that Andona inflated prices at Clown Town and is holding onto revenue, when in fact Andona is a 100% volunteer organization that gives back nearly every dollar taken in.

Clown Town is Andona’s largest annual fundraiser dating back to 1956. Prices for rides and carnival games are set by the carnival company and, outside of a small increase two years ago, have remained consistent for many years. Andona earns a percentage of rides, games and food sold by the carnival company, and partners with local businesses who sponsor the event. The event’s success is largely weather dependent and last year we were blessed with the first nice weekend of the spring!

The article states that we run “many fundraisers,” however, we run just two: Clown Town and Shine the Light on Andover. Shine the Light is a community-building event on the winter solstice that encourages people to light up their entryways with luminaries. For $20 we provide a kit with bags and tea lights, a booklet featuring our sponsors, and a raffle entry. Kits may also be donated to the Andover Youth Center so they too can light up the night.

The way financial data appears in the article is also very unclear. Last year we netted approximately $10,000 on Shine the Light and $58,000 on Clown Town. Membership dues, interest on our accounts, and other donations netted an additional $4,500 for a total of about $72,500. We distributed $31,150 through fund requests, $13,055 through camperships, $10,500 through scholarships, and $316 for other miscellaneous donations. Operating expenses and our annual scholarship dinner meeting was another $5,000 for a total cash outlay of about $60,000. Because of the $12,000 budget surplus we're able to offer the special $10,000 grant this year that's discussed in the article.

Andona is always looking for new members and welcomes anyone to come to one of our meetings or events and see what we are about. Visit www.andona.org to learn more.

LINDA HASKELL

Andover

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