More than $1 mil­lion has been raised

Trail

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B Con­tact Gary Dinges at 912-5987. Twit­ter: @gdinges

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.

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