Event Organizers are Valuable Partners

Event Organizers are Valuable Partners
This article was published in Dayton Daily News on Aug. 5, 2015

By Susan Gnann

Raising the needed funds to grant the wishes of Dayton-area children takes the entire community. Since 1983, the Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation, Inc. (ASW) has been able to grant the wishes of over 1,600 children with the generous contributions from individual donors, businesses, schools and foundations. Much of the money raised for individual wishes and for the annual budget is raised by volunteers who work within their communities to organize events and fundraisers on behalf of ASW.

Often referred to as third party events, ASW prefers to acknowledge these generous individuals and groups as partners. They act as ambassadors for the organization.

“Volunteers that plan events for ASW not only help provide the needed funding for a wish, but also provide invaluable marketing for ASW. There are many in the Dayton region who do not know that ASW is the only local wish-granting organization and these organizers reach people we never could,” remarked Serena Walther, wish and event manager for the ASW Dayton Chapter.

Events range from large 5Ks, golf tournaments and car shows to workplace casual days and pancake breakfasts. Events are limited only by the organizer’s creativity. ASW is involved in helping the organizer promote their event and is available as a resource for questions. The organization has developed an online event toolkit to help any interested groups with ideas, guidelines and the necessary forms to get started.

ASW is supported by four golf tournaments, three car shows, two 5K runs and a fishing tournament. Those and many other smaller events like penny wars at schools, bake sales, concession stands and restaurant takeovers generate a considerable portion of the overall annual budget for ASW. Many businesses have casual days that require a small donation to participate. River Valley Credit Union has been doing this for ASW since 2009 and has raised over $75,000.

For larger events, enough money can be raised to sponsor a specific child’s wish making the experience a very special one for everyone involved.

“It really brings it home for us to know who this effort impacts,” said Tonya Forror, a wish mom who has organized a memorial run since 2009 for her son Cameron who died in 2008. The run is called Cameron’s Smile 5K and will be held on September 13, 2015 at Edison Community College.

For Wayne High School, their volleyball tournament this year benefitted Matthew Helton’s wish for a hot tub. He will be attending Wayne this school year. The impact on the family and the students alike will be something they won’t soon forget.

A community within Southdale Elementary called Southdale Strong recently raised $8000 during their 5K festival. A few families in the community had been served by ASW and they were integral in making this event so successful.

“These connections with the wish kids make it a wonderful experience for everyone,” said Serena Walther. “We at ASW are inspired by the generosity of the many individuals, groups and businesses who support our families with their efforts.

Some organizers of events or fundraisers have been with ASW for many years, others have just come on in recent years. All add value to ASW and further enhance the organization’s ability to grant the wish for every child who qualifies in the Dayton region. This is no small task. If you or your organization is interested in hosting an event, big or small, on behalf of ASW and the families they serve, you can find more information at www.aspecialwish.org/volunteer or by calling Serena Walther at (937) 641-4265.