How a well-timed corporate donation put one project over the top
Never underestimate the power of asking.
Jeff Healey Park in The Queensway and Park Lawn Road neighbourhood was called Woodford Park until it was renamed for the famous musician in June 2011. Healey, who died in 2008 after a brilliant career as a jazz and blues-rock guitarist and vocalist, grew up near the park and, despite his blindness, knew the park well. But by 2009, the park and playground he had enjoyed as a youngster was run down and not as attractive to local families and park users.
Taking matters into hand, a group of passionate residents launched the Friends of Woodford Park to raise funds and advocate for a new playground. Supported by their City councillor, they held garage sales and a community BBQ at the park to raise awareness and money for the cause. They also decided to approach businesses for donations.
Word about the project got to Kraft Canada. With the assistance of the Partnership Development Unit of Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Kraft made a $50,000 donation to the project. Community fundraising and funding from Parks, Forestry & Recreation made up the balance of the $100,000 project.
On a rainy Tuesday in October 2010, during Kraft’s worldwide “Delicious Difference Week” of charitable events, the community, 120 Kraft employees, Toronto Police Service representatives, and other volunteers joined together to build the playground.
Funds raised: $57,000 plus City and in-kind contributions for a $100,000 project
Key lesson: Don’t be shy about promoting your project and asking for money for a good cause
Reminder: Your community fundraising efforts, in most cases, can leverage funding from other sources by showing local commitment to the project.