Nonprofits find source for fundraising opportunities at Cedar Park Center

At the Cedar Park Center, nonprofit organizations from throughout the community can participate in a fundraising program offered by Aramark, the food and beverage provider for the arena.



In the program, nonprofits such as youth sports booster clubs, scout troops and churches, can commit to managing and staffing one of the center's six concession stands for a set number of events throughout the year, said Manuel Cuevas, the general manager for Aramark at the Cedar Park Center.



"[Volunteers] work all the registers. If there's a grilling or a cooking aspect of it, they provide that staff as well," he said.



In return the nonprofit earns a percentage of the sales during those events. For participating in the minimum requirement of 15 Texas Stars hockey games, nonprofits earn a 9 percent commission of the sales from their concession stand. Depending on sales volumes, those earnings can range from $4,000 to $8,000, Cuevas said.



The percentage increases if groups commit to a larger number of events in a year, with a maximum of a 12 percent commission, Cuevas said.



"The percentage [program] is the way to go. [The nonprofit is] going to provide that customer service that we love within Aramark because they're invested in it. The more they sell, the more they make," he said.



For nonprofits that cannot staff a full concession stand or make the 15-game minimum commitment, another option is available, Cuevas said. A nonprofit can provide a smaller group, usually four people, to work concessions wherever they are needed in the arena for any given event. In turn, nonprofits can earn a flat rate of $50 per person.



Cuevas said he would like to have NPOs managing every one of the six concession stands because they tend to be very reliable and consistent. The Athletic Parents Booster Club, which helps its member families cover the costs associated with youth sports and music activities, is an active participant in the program and worked more than 80 events last year, Cuevas said.



"To have their involvement in [almost] every single event year-round is very rare, so we're very lucky to have them," Cuevas said, adding that currently one other nonprofit group is also participating, and several others have expressed interest.



"I think it's a group effort that works for both parties," said Keri Gann, a coordinator with the booster club. "We are responsible adults that show up for all the events, and in return we get full support of our program. We have a great working relationship with [Aramark] and find they treat us very well and appreciate us in return."



Participating nonprofits must provide proof of their tax-exempt status as well as their own liability insurance. Each worker is also required to obtain his or her Food Service Handler and Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission certifications, both of which can be completed online for a fee. All workers must be at least 18 years old.



Aramark provides training for the point-of-sale and food systems as well as procedures used in the concession stand. When a group first starts in the program, an Aramark employee will serve as the stand's leader to guide the group members through the process until they feel comfortable, Cuevas said.



"I'm a big fan of the [nonprofit] program because I know all the good that it does," Cuevas said.



Aramark at the Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park, 512-600-5060, [email protected]



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