Partnerships help groups raise funds

COVINGTON - Tough economic times call for creative measures to increase sales and raise money, and a few local businesses and organizations are joining forces to meet the challenge.

The Arts Association in Newton County is partnering with Town Center Breads Coffee House in Clark's Grove for Arts Alive!, a celebration and fundraiser for the arts to be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7

Patrons at the coffee shop will have the opportunity to enjoy the regular menu along with entertainment provided by local band Sweet Harmony, and will be able to add a donation to the Arts Association to their bill.

"In addition to enjoying what Town Center has to offer and listening to music you can also help keep the arts alive in Covington at the same time," said Abigail Morgan Coggin, program director for the Arts Association.

All proceeds will benefit the Young Artists Programs, which include Covington Regional Ballet and the Oxford Youth Singers and Oxford Singing Children.

"A lot of our large donors have had to cut their donations in half or are not able to make a donation at all ... All we're doing is just trying to stay afloat at this point and just keep the Young Artists Programs alive," Coggin said.

The partnership with Town Center Breads Coffee House is one way to do that. Though Coggin said she doubts the fundraiser will be huge, "every little bit helps."

"In today's economy, you've got to think outside the box ... It's a creative way to partner and get the word out," she said.

The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce is taking a similar approach in its new partnership with Amici Italian Cafe.

The Chamber and the restaurant are offering Recession Buster discount cards that allow the purchaser discounts on food at Amici.

The card offers 12 separate dine-in discounts - six that are valid through December 31, and six that are valid from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2010.

The cards sell for $10, with 60 percent of funds going to the Chamber. Director of Programs Lisa Oglesby said the money will be used to pay for Chamber operations.

"For Amici's, they're trying to draw awareness and give the community a break. They know everybody is hurting right now ... They actually came to us, trying to think outside the box," she said.

The cards are available at the Chamber, located at 2101 Clark St., or at Amici Italian Cafe, located at 1116 College Ave. SE.

For more information, call the Chamber at 770-786-7510.