The annual Dragon’s Den event supports local causes

The Rotary Club of Airdrie hosted its 16th annual Dragon’s Den on Tuesday Giving – the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving – on November 30, with the goal of providing local groups with a helping hand with their projects or initiatives.

The Airdrie Rotary Club hosted its 16th annual Dragon’s Den event on Tuesday Giving – the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving – November 30, with the aim of providing local groups with a helping hand with projects or initiatives. .

Inspired by the popular Canadian TV show dragon’s lair, the event sees a panel of Rotary Club members hear arguments from representatives of local organizations hoping for financial assistance for a project or purchase.

According to Rotary Club member Roksana Pawlowski, the club is well known for its community outreach and fundraising activities in Airdrie, and Dragon’s Den is a big part of it.

“About a month before [the event], we email a lot of local community organizations and invite them to submit a one-page proposal, ”she explained, adding that organizations typically compete for between $ 500 and $ 1,500 each. .

Pawlowski said the total amount distributed to local groups at the event is typically around $ 10,000, split between eight to 10 groups that demonstrate a specific need for funds. In previous years, the club provided funds to support the Bethany Care Center yard gazebo, Airdrie Project Linus, which makes blankets for children treated for cancer, and Airdrie Scouts, who needed help. help with buying new camping equipment.

“So they need some kind of special equipment for that year or a new project that they just started, and they need financial support for that,” she said. declared. “These are usually some of the proposals we’re looking for. “

She said this year there were 15 applicants in total, which were then narrowed down to a pool of nine finalists based on demonstrated need. She added that preference is given to those who live in Airdrie and the area.

“Some [applicants] were looking for operating and administrative costs [and] some were international organizations, which is not the subject of this event, ”she said.

Representatives from each of the nine chosen organizations were invited to attend the official Dragon’s Den event at the Rotary Hall of the Genesis Place Recreation Center on the evening of November 30. Each group had two minutes to deliver their lift-style pitch to club members. in the hope of recovering the money.

Pawlowski said that this year about 12 Rotary Club members attended the event to hear the pitches.

“We’re definitely a lot nicer than they are on TV,” she said with a laugh. “[We] ask questions and after everyone has introduced themselves all members discuss and vote.

“Some bands maybe deserve a little more, [and] some groups tend to get something every year.

She added that a group that is new to the event or that really caught the judges’ attention could come a little closer to their cause. But this year, she said each candidate received something and the amounts given out ranged from $ 800 to $ 1,500.

“I think the Rotary Club is proud to be able to give back to the community financial aid or even volunteer help,” she said. “I think it’s important to support local organizations, especially given the tough times of the last 20 months with COVID and all.”

She added that it was also nice to be able to meet in person for this year’s event, as last year’s event was held virtually due to restrictions related to the pandemic.

“It wasn’t the same kind of warm feeling [where] anyone can come in and present and then receive money for their organization, ”she said.

This year’s recipients included North Rocky View Community Links, Airdrie Meals on Wheels, Second Airdrie Scouts, Volunteer Airdrie Society, Navy League Cadet Corps, Airdrie Project Linus, Airdrie Public Library, Airdrie and District Hospice Society, and the Sober Friends Society.

Since the 1980s, the Airdrie Rotary Club has donated approximately $ 200,000 to local causes as part of its efforts to support the community.

This year, a new nominee included the Airdrie Public Library, which received funds to purchase its own collection of e-books.

“It’s a great annual tradition that the Rotary Club puts together every year, so I think a lot of organizations look forward to it,” said Pawloski.

Carmen Cundy,

Follow me on twitter @carmenrcundy

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