Raising Friends and Funds Helps Between Friends
Many non-profit organizations host fundraising events to assist in their overall fundraising efforts, and Between Friends is no exception. What makes Between Friends special is how often our participants and their families & friends contribute to the success of these events and jump in with both feet to help.
In 2015, Between Friends raised over $285,000 through special events.
Without fundraising, Between Friends would not be able to run all of the quality programs that we do. Year after year we look at our program offerings and we factor in our participants to ensure what we are offering is of interest. We have a team that works tirelessly to provide amazing customer service to our families and within that team is a group that ensures all of the programs that are in demand have the resources to run.
Our whole team works together to make sure that Between Friends is the best it can be and one of the many things that bring us together with our participants, families and donors are special events.
In 2015, Between Friends hosted four major fundraising events. At the start of the year, there was a level of uncertainty, as we had retired one of our longest standing events – the Friends in Motion: Skate-A-Thon, and were introducing two brand new events. Despite an occasional concern, everyone was excited about these new endeavours.
From Skates to Bowling Shoes
We started the year preparing for our first ever Friends in Motion: Bowl-A-Thon. This event was one that we had been talking about for a few years and we weren’t sure how to best include it in our line up of events. However, losing the Skate-A-Thon forced us to act on it and we are sure glad we did!
The event was held on Friday, March 6 at the newly built Bowling Depot in the NE of Calgary. The venue was perfect, the food was just right and the bowling was a blast. All of those things combined ensured that the attendees were entertained and enjoyed themselves.
The Friends in Motion: Bowl-A-Thon is what we call a peer to peer fundraising event, which by definition is an event where the attendees help raise the money by asking their networks (friends, family, co-workers) to support their participation in a specific cause.
In addition to supporting the work of Between Friends, team members had the privilege of bowling alongside our participants, many of who practice their skills weekly at the bowling programs we offer.
Chris, an avid bowler and one of our Champions for the afternoon worked his magic and made some new friends for the afternoon.
The Tocara ladies were thrilled to have him on their team!
Together, through this event, we raised over $50,000 for Between Friends summer programs. These funds help children, youth and adults attend incredible summer experiences that they may have missed out on otherwise.
High Tea – Pinkies Up!
Our next event took place in the spring and embraced the new growth of the year as we hosted an Afternoon Tea Between Friends. This Alice in Wonderland themed event was also new to Between Friends, but the excitement around it grew immediately and we quickly realized this event was truly going to be special.
An Afternoon Tea Between Friends was held on Sunday, May 24 in the Officer’s Mess at Fort Calgary. The event was perfect for our classic High tea and was made extra special by appearances from Jill Belland of Breakfast Television and Kodette LaBarbera, as seen on the Women’s Network, Hockey Wives.
Jill was a wonderful host and embraced our tea with one of the best hats of the afternoon, while Kodette brought the guests to tears as she talked about the journey she has been on with her son who has Autism. We were all touched by her story and many of the families in the room could relate to her struggles.
We also had a generous donor ensure that our Girl Power with Penny W.E.S.O.A.R! program and four of our participants and their moms could attend the event. The Girl Power group, all children under the age of twelve, were enthralled by the event and had a blast taking photos in our photo booth!
We sold out the room and are looking to a bigger venue in 2016. Children and adults thoroughly enjoyed all the entertainment with a visit from the Mad Hatter and Alice herself!
Together we hope to greatly surpass the amount raised at Afternoon Tea Between Friends in the future!
Puttigans and the Voice of the Flames
Our next event that closely followed our Tea is now the event that we host with the longest history. The Between Friends Charity Golf Classic was held on Monday, July 13 at the Pinebrook Golf and Country Club on the west side of Calgary.
Pinebrook Golf and Country Club was the perfect venue for this prestigious event because it is one of the few private golf clubs in our city. We had some challenges with a downpour delaying the start, but nothing stopped our golfers from enjoying a lively afternoon off the tee!
Peter Maher, retired voice of the Calgary Flames, was our host for the day and ensured that all of our guests never experienced a dull moment.
Our special guest, Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk (middle), 7-Time Long Drive World Champion, entertained our guests both on and off the course with her tips and training for hitting long drives – a wonderful addition to the day!
The Between Friends Charity Golf Classic has been running for more than 25 years and has a strong history with Between Friends. We are very grateful for all of the individuals who started this tradition and have given us the ground work to keep it going strong year after year.
We also receive great support from many of our families at this event, who have the opportunity to purchase a spot in the tournament at a reduced price. Each year, we also have the pleasure of having many Aktion Club members join us on course as volunteers for the day.
Aktion Club is a service club for adults with disabilities and is sponsored by the Northmount Kiwanis Club in Calgary. Many Aktion Club members are also participants with Between Friends.
In 2015, we raised over $90,000 in support of Between Friends programs. This helps ensure that all of our participants have the best and safest experiences all year long.
Singing and Dancing for Dollars
Last, but certainly not least, we held our final major fundraising event of the year on November 13 at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino. Between Bands is a great event for everyone, with a variety of styles of music, classic pub food and quality time with friends.
We currently have two bands that have supported this event with their talent and fundraising efforts for the past three years; ‘bORDERLINE’ and ‘the Advo-Cats.’
We are grateful to these two groups of talented artists, as this event would not exist without their continued support.
Between Bands has been a great opportunity as well for many of our participants and their families to spend time with our staff and donors, dancing and getting to know each other. This event is truly a collage of people and is one of the best opportunities for inclusion that Between Friends witnesses.
This year, we had two donors contribute in order to allow for some of our participants to attend.
We all enjoyed participating in a conga line led by Between Friends CEO, Suzanne Jackett (left).
Between Bands is an event that should not be missed in 2016, and this year raised a record breaking amount for Between Friends this year.
Every staff member, volunteer, participant and family of Between Friends helps make us what we are and although there is a cost to attend our fundraising events, we are so grateful to be able to share them with all of you – our friends.
- Kelsey Claeys, Events Coordinator