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July-September 2006

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Bingo Supports FPCUG
Financial Security and Community Service
By James Jordan
with input from Bill Williams and Rick Neil

Fredericksburg PC User Group (FPCUG, uses Bingo events to achieve financial independence, security, and to provide funding for local community services.

FPCUG needed a place to hold monthly and SIG meetings. So the group began running Bingo events for the local Volunteer Fire Department in 1995 in exchange for using the Fire Hall for meetings. The VFD also made cash donations to FPCUG. The Department of Charitable Gaming stopped this effort late in year 2000. FPCUG then operated its own Bingo effort for several years. Now FPCUG partners with a church group to run Bingo. Profits are split between the two groups. FPCUG's share is sufficient to supply about 20 new mid-level computers and peripherals, (software, printers and projectors) to various non-profit groups annually.

All Bingo proceeds are to be used to support charitable/community services, some of these services are our own activities that are open to the public. We have established ourselves as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The financial security comes mostly from the interest on the restricted accounts. (Restricted accounts receive the bingo proceeds.) Two weeks are worked by FPCUG teams followed by two weeks worked by church teams. Bingo proceeds cannot be used for expenses such as newsletters, stamps, operation supplies and awards. Every month, FPCUG and the church group each work Bingo twice. FPCUG Bingo volunteers are organized into four teams. Nine people are needed to run Bingo for one month. So each FPCUG team works once every two months.

FPCUG doesn't seek a strong presence in the community regarding philanthropic efforts simply because there aren't funds for everything that might be requested. Word of mouth among local non-profits creates sufficient awareness. Requests are considered based on several factors:

  1. Is it requested by a non-profit organization?

  2. How many people or clients will it affect?

  3. What is required?

  4. Who will handle any necessary equipment installations?

  5. How will requested equipment be used?

  6. What software is needed?

  7. Who will provide training for new equipment?

  8. Who will supervise the equipment?

  9. Is there a brand preference for equipment?

These questions are answered in an interview by Jim Jordan and recommendations are then reported to the FPCUG Board for decision.

Submitted by Gabe Goldberg, Region 2 Advisor

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