Prime Time Institute plans to continue on without funding from Santa Fe College


Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 5:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 5:54 p.m.

The Prime Time Institute watched its three-year association with Santa Fe College end this week, but the group plans to keep going on its own.

The Prime Time Institute, which offers educational, cultural and recreational events to its senior citizen membership, held its last event at Santa Fe -- a presentation on spiritual humanism by Gainesville City Commissioner Jack Donovan. The event, attended by about 50 people, happened to come on the day the college officially ended the program.

Santa Fe officials had previously announced their intent to end the program, which had an annual budget of approximately $15,000, citing financial constraints.

But Tuesday was not a time for tearful goodbyes, because the Prime Time Institute, which has seen its dues-paying membership grow to 157, plans to form a nonprofit organization and keep going as the Prime Time Institute of Greater Gainesville.

"Surprisingly enough, there was a considerable group of people who said we're not going to let this die, we're going to keep it going," said member Lee Wiegand.

Shirley Bloodworth, director of the Prime Time Institute, said Tuesday that programs scheduled in July will be held at the Matheson Museum on East University Avenue and the group's Thursday classes will be at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Northwest 34th Street. Bloodworth said both locations offered space free of charge.

Besides trips to performances at the Hippodrome and recreational activities including regular Bocce games, the Prime Time Institute speakers program has dealt with prominent individuals and topics such as religion and government services. Now members have their most hands-on program to date: learning first-hand how to set up a nonprofit organization.

"It's been an adventure," said member Jean Outler. "We're all learning things doing this, because some of us have never set up a corporation before."

Outler said the institute could register with the state as a nonprofit in the next month or two but the more cumbersome process of getting 501(c)3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service would likely take more time.

Santa Fe College has offered to let the group use campus space for events once the nonprofit organization is established, Outler said.

Contact Christopher Curry at 374-5088 or chris.curry@gvillesun.com.

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