TBM swaps fundraising gala for virtual lottery event

·3 min read

As pandemic restrictions continue, the Town of the Blue Mountains’ (TBM) grants and donations committee is rethinking its annual fundraising event.

“The committee thought long and hard about this and decided that we would embark on something called the Chase the Ace program, which is for all intents and purposes, a virtual progressive lottery,” said TBM councillor, Rob Sampson.

TBM’s grants and donation committee runs a donations program, which is self-funded and does not rely on taxation dollars. The committee is responsible for receiving, reviewing and approving grants and donations applications based on the grant criteria and application process approved by council.

Last year, the committee held the ‘We Love Blue’ gala fundraising event on Valentine’s Day at the Blue Mountains Village Conference Centre. The event featured dinner and dancing and raised $47,781 for the committee.

“It's kind of slim to no chance that we're going to be able to hold a fundraising gala in February of this year,” Sampson said, citing COVID-19 restrictions.

The concept of Chase the Ace is that every week participants purchase a lottery ticket. Funds from the weekly sales are allocated into three pots – 50 per cent to the organizer, 20 per cent to the weekly winner and 30 per cent is placed into the jackpot.

A weekly winner will draw a card from a deck of playing cards, and if they draw the ace of spades, they win the accumulated jackpot.

If the ace of spades is not drawn, the reduced deck is kept for the following week's game and the jackpot rolls over to the next week.

“Based on getting the proper lottery licenses and web software applications, we are still hopeful for an end of February launch,” said TBM councillor and chair of the grants and donations committee, Peter Bordignon.

Michael Caron, member of the grants and donations committee presented the idea at the Jan. 8 committee meeting and TBM council approved the concept at the Jan. 11 council meeting.

“It is the goal of the Chase the Ace program that we partner with a specific organization each time to split the funds with that organization. Our first Chase the Ace will be equally shared 50/50 with the grants and donations fund applicants and the Meaford Hospital Foundation,” Bordignon explained.

In 2020, the grants and donations committee was able to disburse $56,215 to various community groups and organizations, including Beaver Valley Outreach, the Marsh Street Centre, Events for Life, Hospice Georgian Triangle Foundation and the Thornbury/Clarksburg Rotary Club.

“We do have some funds raised from 2020 initiatives – approximately $29,000 – that were not used by organizations as their events were cancelled in 2020. We encourage those organizations to re-apply for 2021,” said Bordignon.

The program's application process will open on Jan. 18 with the application deadline expected to be Feb. 26.

The grants and donations committee will make its recommendations to the council on April 9 and TBM council will vote on the applications and allocation of funds at a council meeting scheduled for May 3.

Tickets for the Chase the Ace events are expected to be $5 each and participants must be 18 years or older.

“Our new Chase the Ace fundraiser will hopefully be a new on-going staple within our community,” Bordignon added.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca