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A good time for a good cause.

A Good Time for Good Cause

Ann Arbor, Mich found a means to finance recreational programs for disadvantaged youth by transforming a traditional canoe race into a fundraiser.

The Corporate Challenge Canoe Race has been a feature of the annual Huron River Day Canoe Races sine 1986. Typically, five to ten area businesses entered for a nominal fee, competing for first, second and third place awards.

In 1990, the Parks and Recreation Department, seeking money for the scholarship fund that subsidizes recreations activities, summer day camps and competitive swimming programs for low-income community youth, looked to the canoe races.

Offering use or its 25-meter outdoor swimming pool and 125-foot water slide for a company party as grand prize, the department contacted more than 800 local businesses, stressing the need to provide recreational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Companies were asked to donate $200 per two-person team and to challenge another area business to do likewise.

Once the completed applications and entry fees were received, the department wrote to the "challenged" businesses, urging them to also enter teams.

Twenty-two companies responded.

The Ann Arbor News, which sponsors the Huron River Day Canoe Races each year, provided needed publicity, publishing a full-page advertisemnet.

On the day of the race, a special registration table with tee-shirts and free refreshments was set up just for Corporate Challenge participants. A localraido personality emceed.

The course was a simple three-quarter mile loop. The fastest team completed it in 6 minutes, 8 seconds, while the slowest took 8 minutes, 35 seconds.

Prizes included traveling trophies in the sahpe of canoe padles that will be passed among each year's winning teams to encourage future participation. Smaller trophy paddles were awarded to the losing teams for their effort. And a "team spirit' prize went to the best company cheering squad.

The event raised $4,400 for the scholarship fund.

In 1991, 28 companies entered and over $7,000 was raised.

The Michigan Municipal League awarded the program a certificate of achievement in its 1991 achievement awards competition (see The Weekly, November 4).
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:City Ideas That Work; Ann Arbor, Michigan uses a canoe race as a fundraiser for disadvantaged youth
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 20, 1992
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