Herp Lamba compares the United Way of Thunder Bay’s annual Billboard Rescue event to reality TV.
“So you think of The Apprentice, Survivor and Fear Factor,” Lamba said Thursday, at the kick-off luncheon for the May 16 fundraiser.
“The Apprentice because we’re on the phones trying to hit up their top donors; Survivor because there’s a competitive aspect, we’re competing against one another for prizes, and then Fear Factor because we’re being lofted 30 to 40 feet up in the air on a scissor lift. So some people are really fearful of that, yet they’re still making phone calls.”
The single-largest one-day fundraiser in the city, United Way officials are hoping they can top last year’s record $143,000 haul, money that kick-starts their annual fall campaign fund.
Though participants have almost two months to hit up potential donors, it’s the last minute calls from atop the scissor lift that usually puts the charity over the top each year.
Shawn Christie, the special events co-ordinator for the United Way, said the Billboard Rescue keeps growing and growing.
It never ceases to amaze him.
“The people of Thunder Bay support these events year after year. It is the premier event that the United Way puts on every year … Over the last five years we’ve been averaging about $140,000 a year, plus. We really hope to raise $150,000 this year,” Christie said.
In its 21st year, the event sees teams of four climb the scissor lift, calling friends, family and colleagues to help them reach their goal, the trigger to bring them spiraling back to Earth.
The head start should help ease what they need to collect on event day, Christie said.
“The day is sort of the final show, capping off their pledges that they’re getting,” he said.
This year’s Billboard Rescue will have a new home, the parking lot of Christie’s new Central Avenue Lowery’s location, and will feature the annual fundraising barbecue, hosted by ReMax Realty.
Frank Jollimore has been taking part in the event since its inception. A retired financial planner, Jolimore said it’s a fun way to raise a lot of money for a great organization.
“Everybody in this city supports them, and that’s why I’m involved. Each year we set a goal and we work very hard to reach our goal.”
The top three fundraising teams will be vying for prizes, while individuals will get a ballot for each $500 they raise for a chance at other prizes.
Teams raising $2,500 or more will have a chance to win dinner for eight at the Valhalla Inn.
To enter a team, contact Rose at 626-1764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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