More than $1 million has been raised
As of Friday, more than $1 million had been raised, according to figures obtained by the American-Statesman. Most of that amount — $804,000 — has come from area corporations, such as grocer H-E-B, as well as others including AT&T, Barton Creek Square mall, Chase, Cirrus Logic, Dell, Humana, Samsung, Seton Healthcare Family, South Point Auto Group, Vista Equity Partners and Wells Fargo. Austinbased pawnshop operator EZCorp signed on Friday, providing $100,000.
“We are committed to supporting our hometown community,” said EZCorp CEO Paul Rothamel. “The Trail of Lights is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Austin’s spirit and share in the traditions that makes Austin the place we all love to call home.”
Individual philanthropists have given $100,000 to the Trail of Lights. Another $103,750 is from small businesses.
Revenue from food and merchandise that will be sold is projected to bring in $150,000.
“This isn’t about hanging a logo on some displays and handing out VIP passes,” said RunTex founder Paul Carrozza, whose Carrozza RunTex Foundation obtained the city permit needed to bring back the Trail of Lights. “We’re creating experiences between sponsors and trail-goers that allow for interaction and conversation.”
Attendees will have a chance to learn more about 20-plus local nonprofit organizations that will have representatives at Zilker Park. Those charities, Carrozza and Watson hope, will be able to collect donations and raise their profile.
Expenses this year include reimbursing the city of Austin for work done by several city departments, including Parks and Recreation, Austin Energy and police. No city dollars will be spent on the project.
“They’re paying for all the city services and staff being used,” said Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Jason Maurer.
That includes electricity to power the lights. Maurer said organizers are paying the city’s normal electric rates.
So far, Maurer says the city has been reimbursed about $140,000. That’s expected to take care of most expenses, he said.
The future looks bright for the Trail of Lights, Watson said. Several corporations have already signed on for 2013, and a handful of local philanthropists are busy gathering cash.
“Everyone we’ve talked to has said, ‘We’re going to make sure this happens,’ ” Watson said. “Even small businesses are calling all the time saying, ‘What can we do to help?’ ”
Central Texans can donate by visiting austin trailoflights.org or texting ATXLIGHT to 20222 to donate $10.