19/11/2008 - 22:00

Charities look for mass support

19/11/2008 - 22:00

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THE growing number of mass participation events in Perth has provided fertile ground for benevolent institutions looking for more creative means to raise funds and deliver their message of goodwill.

Charities look for mass support

THE growing number of mass participation events in Perth has provided fertile ground for benevolent institutions looking for more creative means to raise funds and deliver their message of goodwill.

The city is home to one of the biggest officially timed mass participation events in the Southern Hemisphere - the City to Surf Fun Run - which was the brainchild of Jolimont-based disability services provider Activ in 1973.

Attracting a record 37,000 participants this year, including former Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman, the City to Surf has become a major attraction for interstate visitors and a community highlight on the local calendar.

Despite the difficulties associated with organising such a large event, Activ chief executive Tony Vis said the fun run generated several hundred thousands of dollars for the organisation and brought together elements of sponsorship, brand awareness, fundraising, community spirit and health.

"While there are aspects of fundraising to the City to Surf, you do have to balance the event with reasons for people to keep coming to the event, reasons for putting on the event and why the community would want to continue to participate in the event," he said. "We go through Perth and Subiaco and you don't want the City to Surf to be too large that it becomes an imposition to the city."

The event's success, like that of the 19.2-kilometre Rottnest Channel Swim, has paved the way for not-for-profit groups such as community service organisation the Rotary Club of Perth to spread their message through large, community based initiatives.

Rotary's The Great Bike Ride, which will take place on November 23 around the Swan River, attracted 4,000 participants last year, with at least 5,000 expected to turn out this weekend.

Club spokesperson Phillip Skelton said the event's aim was to raise funds for the Heart Foundation, Hope for Children and St John of God Foundation Horizon House Project.

"The money raised supports health and youth projects and we also provide the opportunity for companies to promote the health of their employees and encourage their participation in community service by supporting company teams in the KPMG Corporate Challenge," he said.

The corporate challenge encourages companies to participate by registering corporate teams, volunteering, fundraising and taking advantage of the business hospitality packages available post-ride.

In its 13th year, the Pricewater-houseCoopers Cool Night Classic charity run and walk, which took place earlier this month, raises money for WA's Prostate Cancer Foundation.

PwC Perth managing partner John O'Connor said the fundraiser, which attracted up to 1,800 each year, had enabled PwC to donate more than $120,000 to local charities including Redkite, Parkerville Children's and Youth Care, Uni Camp for Kids and the Clontarf Foundation.

"The event's success can be attributed to the mix of exercise, fundraising for local charities and the opportunity to relax and wind-down with colleagues, business associates and friends," Mr O'Connor said.

Other mass participation events include the Shire of Mundaring's Trek to Rail six-kilometre walk and cycle along the Railway Reserve and Activ's Albany Port to Point Fun Run, held last weekend

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