Building Community through Events - Rotary Peace Park


How the Rotary Peace Park Rejuvenation Committee gains support and raises funds

Park projects evolve through stages: the tentative early days, when neighbours are often just getting to know each other for the first time; mid-stream, with successful events on track and some money in the bank; and finally, when everything falls into place, the ribbon cutting with a job well done.

The Rotary Peace Park Rejuvenation Committee, by the fall of 2012, was moving from mid-stream to first ribbon cutting. It had raised approximately $140,000 from various sources for park improvements, including landscaping, new trees and a new playground structure at the lakeshore park in Etobicoke.

A big part of the all-volunteer group’s success has been its ability to build momentum with a series of well-executed fundraising events. The committee is also working closely with the local City councillor and with Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff.

The first fundraising event in 2010 brought the community together with a pizza and skating party. Fundraising proceeds were modest, about $300, but the committee was on its way.

Continuing the food theme, the committee concocted an Ice Cream Contest in the summer of 2011, with a local ice cream parlour. Kids and adults were invited to submit recipes for new flavours. The winning recipes were made and sold, with the proceeds donated to the committee. The event raised almost $4,000.

A Halloween Party came next. Ticket sales, food sales, and a 50/50 draw scared up more than $3,000 from hundreds of goblins and their parents. A local toy store donated prizes.

Shifting gears to an adult focus, the committee organized a wine tasting at a nearby yacht club in March 2012. The wine was purchased, but beer was donated by a brewery. Ticket sales, a silent auction with donated gifts, and beer sales more than covered the costs of the wine. In fact, the committee raised approximately $11,000.

The Rejuvenation Committee partnered with the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation as its fundraising vehicle. The committee is informal and not incorporated, but by partnering with the charitable Foundation, it can offer tax receipts to donors.

The close working relationship with the councillor helped secure some Section 37 funding for park improvements.

With further funding secured from a Live Green Toronto grant, it’s just a matter of time before residents have an improved park to enjoy.

Funds raised (phase one): $140,000
Key Lesson: Build momentum with more than one event
Reminder: Partner with the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation or another charitable organization so donors can receive charitable tax receipts

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