Fundraising formula contains ‘fun’


What is behind the magic fundraising formula for the Foundation of the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent?

How can you expect people to open up their wallets to pay $750 for a round of golf, or $150 for a night out on a concrete floor?

I’m talking about the Festival of Golf and the Festival of Giving, two big and very successful fundraising events put on by the foundation.

The Festival of Giving has been around for 17 years and has raised millions for the treatment centre, and other partner charities.

Each April, people flock to the John D. Bradley Convention Centre, and before that the Kinsmen Auditorium, to line up to bid on silent auction items, to line up to get their dinner, and to line up for a ride home at the end of the evening.

And for anyone who has attended, if they looked at the event as nothing more than what I just described, chances are they would have never returned, and have never appreciated what the festival is really all about.

It’s about fun and fundraising. In fact, it could be argued the foundation of the CTCCK put the “fun” in “fundraising.”

The Festival of Giving has a fresh theme each year, and features high-energy entertainment all night long. You may see things and costumes there that you’ve never seen before.

Yes, it is one large 19+ party. Liquor flows. Funds flow. People go home with smiles on their faces, sore feet from dancing the evening away, and some successful bidders leave with items for their homes, or plans for a future party or vacation.

And people go home safely. Transportation from the venue to home is covered by the ticket price.

People can have fun without worrying about how they’ll get home. That’s crucial today.

That’s also the case for the Festival of Golf. The event is so much more than 18 holes of golf, as there is food, entertainment and beverages galore. Participants won’t go hungry and shouldn’t get dehydrated.

I stopped by Friday’s Festival of Golf, and “Magic” Mike Genge, executive director of the Foundation of the CTCCK, took me on a tour around the course, showing me some of the events, entertainment, side challenges and food options available for participants.

I sampled jerk chicken from Blazin’ BBQ, had a taco, listened to live music at the Bayside Brewing Company hole where participants also played beer pong with volleyballs and large plastic tubs. There were tiki torches and even a bonfire pit for a real beach feel. All that was missing was the actual beach.

There were steel drums, a margarita station (it was a “Fogaritaville” theme after all), cigars, golf and fun challenges galore, dinner, an after party, and rides home for participants.

The event and its Thursday night pre-party combined to raise $102,000. Someone went home with a new Ford Mustang, and everyone I spoke to that afternoon was having a blast. A few even cared about their golf scores.

Again, lots of fun, and lots of fundraising,

Where is it etched in stone that anyone donating to a good cause simply has to hand over their money? Why not spend a little more and have some fun at the same time?

More than one Festival of Golf participant said Chatham-Kent needs more such events where fun and fundraising are combined.

Judging by the fact these two events are quickly filled each year, he’s right.


Too much rich food

If you are hosting friends, or going over to their house, a smart thing to do is to not eat too much.

Apparently, I’m not so smart.

On Saturday, my wife went over to the house of our friends Charlene and Eggless Chad late in the morning. She and Charlene baked up a storm. I’m talking huge cookies, different varieties of brownies, a couple of pies, pumpkin spice muffins, you name it.

So we headed over there that night with the knowledge we’d have a wide selection of desserts to sample.

And then we ordered Chinese food. I filled up.

No room for anything other than water for a time after that. Chad got called out to fight a barn fire (he’s a local volunteer firefighter), and I slouched on the couch, watching the Cubs game. The ladies and kids played a whacky board game.

I eventually made it over to the board game, and opted to sample a cookie and a brownie. Stuffed and sluggish again.

When everyone switched games, I crawled back to the couch, half asleep.

I don’t think anyone tried either of the pies that night.

Food overkill.

I left shortly after midnight, arriving home to be greeted by our cat, Finn. OK, so his greeting didn’t contain any concern over my indigestion. In fact, it wasn’t a greeting at all, but rather a “get out of my way” as he headed out to enjoy the night.

Bah. Silly cat. Naturally, he wanted to cuddle the next morning when I let him in. Felines provide selective love, if you ask me.


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