Organizers of a Banff fundraising effort to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan got a huge surprise during A Night for Japan held at Wild Bill’s, Tuesday, March 29 when the Banff Park Lodge stepped forward with a $100,000 donation.
Peter McCaffrey of the Banff Rotary Club, which organized the event along with the Japanese Society of Banff, said that, overall, the fundraiser brought in $135,000, which, after it was matched by The Rotary Foundation of Canada, became $270,000 for the Rotary Japan and Pacific Island 2011 Disaster Recovery Fund (www.trfcanada.org).
It’s a fundraising evening that McCaffrey said turned out much better than expected.
“It’s extremely safe to say that. We didn’t know what to expect. We had no advertising. One of the members printed up a few posters to put around, but the word of mouth really worked well,” he said.
“We knew in the pit of our stomachs this would be a success. We were advised by Banff Park Lodge that they would make a contribution that initially we thought would be around $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 and bingo, they showed up with $100,000 and that slayed everybody.”
The Banff Springs Hotel employee association also made a substantial contribution, McCaffrey added.
Even the individual who won the 50/50 draw put $500 of her winnings back to the fundraisers, which was over a third of what she won, he said.
Money raised by Banff residents and businesses will be used to replace lost or damaged school and hospital equipment, for example, following a needs assessment by Japanese Rotary Clubs in communities along the heavily damaged east coast of Honshu.
The amount of money raised also tells McCaffrey that Banff is an international community that cares.
“It just goes to show you what can be done when there is a well-identified need. Quite frankly, I would guess that when all is said is done, we will be over $150,000,” he said.
Donations to The Rotary Foundation of Canada are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.