A Laudable Concept in Fundraising Has Come to Light


med_Pamelas_Mug_copy62It was an acclaimed event that had a ton of curious onlookers as an early morning meeting last week at the Tower Theatre drew a packed house.

It was a challenge of the status quo, one that we can relate to: Bend has too many fundraising events with too much duplication, too many asks and not enough bandwidth to continue functioning in this fashion….according to Aimee Baillargeon who is spearheading this new concept with Gary Fish founder and president of Deschutes Brewery.

The informational meeting was hosted by Deschutes Brewery and the Sagebrush Classic to have an open dialogue with area nonprofits and community members about a whole new way of fundraising.
The presentation shared a vision for reducing the fragmented fundraising in Central Oregon and providing one large, focused event that solidifies the donor and nonprofit community. The event will provide matching grant opportunity for any nonprofit organization that wishes to participate.

The new event will be modeled after the wildly successful Old Bill’s Fun Run in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which has raised almost $75 million dollars for nonprofits in their region over the last 14 years. The current Sagebrush Classic, a Deschutes Brewery/Gary Fish charity event that has raised over $2 million for local nonprofits since 1989, will be broadened in its scope to create a
communitywide event.

Sagebrush will launch the campaign, provide the fundraising, marketing tools and staffing and execute the event. Donors will be able to designate funds to any participating nonprofits, and also donate to the match fund being raised by Sagebrush. After the event closes, each nonprofit receives 100 percent of their designated funds, plus the additional Sagebrush match funds.

Local non-profit representatives expressed some concerns about the event taking away from their own money raising efforts. But overall most believe, as we do, that a concept like this will raise more money and provide the community with an opportunity to participate in one event that benefits numerous organizations.

Next year, the Sagebrush Community Challenge will be held July 15-16, 2011. The event kicks off with the Sagebrush Classic golf tournament Friday morning, Sagebrush Private Dinners on Friday evening, the Sagebrush Community Challenge race on Saturday morning and the famous Sagebrush Feast at Broken Top on Saturday evening. Funds raised at the dinners and the feast will go directly into the matching fund.

Directing the charge will be Baillargeon, an experienced fundraiser and event manager, who reports that her voice mail has been exploding with people who are saying, “Count me in!”

Gary Fish, who continues to bring his visionary business acumen and philanthropic dedication to our region, adds: “It’s a paradigm shift to be sure but this is the best idea I’ve heard to date to engage and benefit the community.”

We concur. More information about Sagebrush can be found at www.sagebrush.org or on Facebook.com/Sagebrush.Classic  pha


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