When it wrapped up last month, the Something for Everyone campaign raising money for a new Wellesley rec. complex had overshot the mark. The effort surpassed its $2.5-million goal by $1.4 million.
That was the result of overwhelming community support, said campaign chair Chris Martin, who revealed the numbers to Wellesley council Tuesday night.
The committee was charged with rallying the community around efforts to build the $27-million Wellesley Township Recreation Centre, and it achieved that in spades.
“I’m so proud of our community and its generosity, and equally proud of our campaign team for their dedication and hard work in achieving this great accomplishment. Early on, our team privately felt our stretch goal was $3 million, but to even exceed that by almost $1 million is truly outstanding,” said Martin.
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“This campaign and project have always been about improving the social and health opportunities for our township residents. I think the people we spoke to truly understood this and gave freely to most of their abilities. One can only conclude that we live in a wonderful place.”
In total there were 112 businesses who contributed to the campaign, as well as 15 community and user groups. The largest donation to the campaign was $1 million, with the average being $33,000. Of the $3.9 million total, 45 per cent has already been given to the township with the remainder being pledged over the next five years.
There were several naming opportunities in the complex, including 41 rooms and spaces that were sold out five months into the campaign. There were also 291 seats available for naming as well as 20 benches and drink rails, all of which sold out.
“We did this during the COVID pandemic. Economic uncertainty was everywhere. Just getting together, both as a campaign team and with prospective donors, was a challenge. And yet our team and community overcame this by being creative and industrious. The residents of Wellesley Township never wavered in understanding the importance of what we were building,” Martin said.
There were several key factors and people that played a part in the fundraising, Martin added.
“First the province of Ontario’s grant at $16.1 million. From the beginning, our MPP Mike Harris was a strong supporter of our project and worked on behalf of the township to secure this money. Without his efforts and subsequent funding the project we were building today wouldn’t be possible. Second, the supportive township councils, starting with the council several years ago that had the good foresight to purchase the land where the complex resides and the most recent council which voted to move forward with the project,” he explained.
The canvassers also played a big role, Martin said.
“Soliciting for money can be quite uncomfortable, and yet our canvassers took on the task with energy and enthusiasm. I applaud them and give them great credit for the success of our campaign.”
While the fundraising portion is over, the Something for Everyone campaign will continue to be active.
“We will share milestone moments of the construction as well as posting new and interesting details about the complex as we get closer to opening day. I’m very proud of what our team and community have accomplished. I feel lucky to have had the chance to lead and be involved with such a special group of people and to live in such a kind and generous community such as ours,” Martin said.