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Thursday, 31 May 2018 07:05

Presenting sponsors continue support for Foundation of Hope gala

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An announcement about the presenting sponsors for the 2018 Foundation of Hope gala took place May 18. From left to right, Standard Motors Partner Ryan Plewis, Swift Current United Way Executive Director Stacey Schwartz, and Pattison Agriculture President Arthur Ward. An announcement about the presenting sponsors for the 2018 Foundation of Hope gala took place May 18. From left to right, Standard Motors Partner Ryan Plewis, Swift Current United Way Executive Director Stacey Schwartz, and Pattison Agriculture President Arthur Ward. Matthew Liebenberg

The presenting sponsors of the Foundation of Hope gala will continue their partnership with the Swift Current United Way for 2018.

Pattison Agriculture and Standard Motors will each contribute $10,000 towards the presenting sponsorship total of $20,000.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have the same corporate businesses be a part of the gala from the very beginning,” Swift Current United Way Executive Director Stacey Schwartz said. “It’s really the major sponsorship that is the backbone to get an event like the gala off the ground and we can contribute a significant amount of funds to different non-profits.”
The 4th annual Foundation of Hope gala will take place at the Living Sky Casino event centre on Nov. 3. This will be the second year that both businesses will be presenting sponsors for the gala.
“I think because there’s a familiarity with the event and they know what it’s about, they know who it’s going to benefit,” she said. “So because of that familiarity it’s a lot easier to maintain that partnership going forward.”
Schwartz believes the information presented by the Swift Current United Way in the 2017 community impact report will also make a difference when businesses have to decide about their involvement with the gala.
That information has been shared with sponsors. According to the report the Swift Current United Way disbursed a total of $71,650 to the nine community partners in 2017. The funding directly benefitted 1,327 individuals.
“I think that all goes into just reaffirming the impact that their sponsorship has,” she said.
Pattison Agriculture has originally been the only presenting sponsor of the gala, but it was joined last year by Standard Motors.
“They have a similar philosophy to us, and when you have a great organization and you have two businesses in the community that want to get behind it, we felt it was a good partnership to join with them,” Pattison Agriculture President Arthur Ward said. “You look at the groups supported by the United Way and our community. It’s vulnerable sector folks that don’t have a lot of other places to go and it’s exciting to get behind that and to be able to support that and bring some issues in our community to light that maybe wouldn’t otherwise be known.”
He believes it is an effective approach to do fundraising for various non-profit organizations in the community through the Swift Current United Way.
“Each time one of those member groups comes to the door, their ability to raise funds gets very diluted,” he said. “If people give here, they can’t give there, and this way they can give to one central source and then all of those groups, based on their needs, can receive funding. Honestly, I think that a lot of those groups wouldn’t receive the funding they get if they were trying to raise it on their own.”
Standard Motors has also been a sponsor since the inaugural galas, but the company expanded its commitment last year to become a presenting sponsor.
“I think both Pattison Ag and us share a fairly similar philosophy about being involved in the communities that support us and as long as you share a philosophy that way, I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work well,” Standard Motors Partner Ryan Plewis said.
The format for this year’s gala will be similar to the previous events. The goal is to present an elegant and glamorous evening for participants while bringing awareness to social issues and raising funds for non-profit organizations in southwest Saskatchewan.
“It’s a neat experience for those who attend, but more importantly it’s an important fundraiser for the United Way and all the very valid causes that they support,” he noted. “So as much as it is nice to be part of a fun event, it’s even better when the evening is something that provides so much value for the community.”
There are various other categories of sponsorship available for the gala and the Swift Current United Way will also be looking for sponsors for the live and silent auctions.
The gala is the United Way’s main fundraising event in the city and the 2018 campaign goal is to raise $100,000 to support the work of non-profit organizations in the region.
According to Schwartz the gala’s success in such a short time period has exceeded her expectations.
“I remember the first year doing it, because it was such a new idea, you spend a lot of your energy just trying to get people to buy into the event,” she said.
A documentary was screened at the previous two events to bring awareness to a specific social issue. Two years ago the documentary focused on mental health and depression. Last year’s documentary highlighted the issue of domestic violence. The focus of this year’s documentary will be addiction.
She believes this focus on specific issues has helped to create a better understanding about the importance of the gala to support the work of different non-profit organizations.
“It’s really about the community coming together and supporting our vulnerable sectors,” she said. “By year two and year three we sold out both years. That definitely exceeded my expectations. I think that’s a huge success that early on. We’ve had people excited about it and just last year even seeing the change in the demographic of the age range of 25 to 65 and it really did feel like a community effort in raising those funds.”

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Matthew Liebenberg