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Lake group rolls out credit card
Visa card will help nonprofit raise money

Lake Lanier Association's newest fundraising tool comes in the form of plastic.

The Gainesville-based nonprofit organization is offering a Capitol One Visa credit card to its members and anyone else who is interested.

In return, the group receives $50 after the first purchase and then proceeds of 2 percent on gas and grocery purchases, up to 10 percent on purchases at "select" merchants and 1 percent on all other purchases.

"Any nonprofit is eligible for it," said Joanna Cloud, the group's executive director. "Lake Lanier Association is a good fit for it because we have a very broad base.

"We have 4,000 members out there — not only residents and recreational users, but we also have a lot of merchants in our association."

The group was founded in 1966 to advocate for the lake but has grown to feature "a variety of missions and programs, acting as an education and knowledge resource for many government and private groups interested in the health of the lake," according to the organization's website.

One of its annual events is Shore Sweep, a huge volunteer effort to remove garbage and debris from the lake and shoreline.

The association, which is scheduled to hold its annual meeting May 19, also has taken an active role in legal issues, as well, including a court fight between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over authorized water uses at Lake Lanier.

One of the organization's key annual fundraisers has been a golf tournament. The ninth event is slated for May 16 at Legacy on Lanier Golf Club at Lake Lanier Islands.

Cloud said board members were recently discussing other ways to raise money for the organization and the credit card idea arose.

The card, which features a picture of the lake and part of the shoreline, as well as the organization's logo, also could yield, when swiped, some merchant discounts for users, creating "a win-win situation" for all parties involved, Cloud said.

"I sent out a letter to about 100 merchants (Wednesday) introducing them to the program," she added.

Anyone interested in the card can visit the association's website,, for more information.

"I've already applied for mine and they sent me an email yesterday saying it's on its way," Cloud said. "I think I'm going to be the first on my block to get one."