Try this at home: Sports fundraisers
I t’s summer – time to get some exercise, relax in the company of your fellow Rotarians, and do some good while you’re at it. Here we offer 12 great ways that clubs from Tennessee to Thailand are flexing their fundraising muscles, all year long. So grab your golf clubs, bowling shoes, or hockey skates, and be a good sport.
Open-water swimming events are well suited to raising money. The Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya, Thailand, situated on the Bay of Bangkok, organizes its Cross Bay Swim, offering a 2.2-mile route across part of the bay or a 0.7-mile course along the beach. Proceeds have helped provide water filtration systems to over 31 schools, improving the lives of more than 6,000 children and their families.
Pass the buck
The Rotary Club of Mount Isa, Australia, put on its first rodeo in 1959 with no grounds, no stock, and no experience. Now the event, which features a formal ball, a horse race, and a three-day rodeo, rounds up more than 25,000 visitors and awards $200,000 in prizes. The Rotary Club of Franklin, Tenn., USA, has held its rodeo since 1950, roping in more than $1 million for area projects. This year’s proceeds went to local flood victims.
While some clubs support youth basketball teams with clinics and tournaments, others hold court with the pros. The spoofs and gags of the Harlem Ambassadors help the Rotary clubs of Ballantyne, N.C., and Boca Raton Sunset, Fla., USA, raise funds for programs that benefit young people.
In 1994, the Rotary Club of Tupper Lake, N.Y., USA, worked with its community of 6,000 in the Adirondacks to build an athletic field. The old one dated back to 1938 and no longer met competition standards. Completed in 1998, the field is now home to club-sponsored events including a high school all-star football game and a track and field invitational.
The Rotary Club of Portsmouth, N.H., USA, jumps into fundraising every January with its Polar Bear Swim and has collected $40,000 for groups including the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the local Red Cross. The Rotary Club of Nome, Alaska, waits until June to take the plunge – even then, water temperatures in the Bering Sea are only in the 40s.
Game, set, match
A tennis tournament first held in 1992 by the Rotary Club of Bali Nusa Dua, Indonesia, has grown to become the largest amateur event of its kind in the country, raising $55,000 for children with disabilities. The Rotary Club of Buckhead (Atlanta), Ga., USA, hosts an annual competition for girls’ and boys’ teams, representing 27 high schools from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
The Rotary Club of Plattsburgh, N.Y., USA, has been reeling in funds for 25 years with its three-day fishing classic on Lake Champlain. Last year, 564 anglers and 72 teams participated in the June tournament. Proceeds go toward scholarships and other local causes.
Bowling is right up the alley of the Rotary Club of Bismarck Far West, N.D., USA. The club held its Frames for Funds tournament in January to benefit three community organizations. The 45 teams brought nonperishable food items in addition to the $125 entry fee. The event also included a silent auction.
The Rotary Club of Tampa Interbay, Fla., USA, is shifting into gear to support children with autism. The proceeds from its Cycling Out Autism event, which features 25- and 50-mile courses, are earmarked for the applied behavior analysis master’s program at the University of South Florida to help provide services for children with autism.
Nearly 50 teams face off during the playoffs of the hockey program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Stratford, Ont., Canada. Don’t have a rink? The Rotary Club of Newcastle, N.B., hosts a pond hockey tournament, with proceeds going to the French Fort Cove Nature Park.
The Rotary Club of Lantzville, B.C., Canada, holds a charity golf tournament that raises $10,000 annually. The 2010 event, held in May in partnership with the Royal Canadian Golf Association, took a swing at raising money to help people with breast cancer.
Sometimes the race is not to the swift but the stubborn. The Rotary clubs of Blackwater Valley, Farnborough, and Rushmoor, England, attract about 5,000 people each May to their Donkey Derby, which has been a Farnborough mainstay since the 1960s. The Rotary Club of Burnham Beeches also holds a race in May that has raised more than £50,000 over the past few years.