Atherton Now, the nonprofit group raising funds for a new Atherton civic center, announced last week that an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $1 million of any donations received through the end of the year.
Beverly Lenihan, a consultant working with Atherton Now, said the donor will match any money raised from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31. That means that the more than $100,000 the group reported it raised in September will also be matched.
Ms. Lenihan said the donor wants the civic center design to be "practical and efficient" with "no wasted space."
"It looks at this point that the Civic Center Advisory Committee, the architects and the City Council are working to that end," she said.
Ms. Lenihan said Atherton Now will be contacting all residents of Atherton through emails or mail.
At the group's last report to the Atherton City Council, Atherton Now had raised $5.63 million. The group says its goal is to raise $10 million by the end of the year. While the town has not yet received a firm estimate of the cost of the civic center, the council set a goal of having $25 million privately raised to pay its costs.
Several council members have said they will give Atherton Now until the end of the year to raise the money.
If the donations do not materialize, the town may return to the voters to find a way around a 2012 measure that requires the town to build the civic center primarily with private donations. The measure allows the town to use building fees or grants, but not general fund or parcel tax money.