Photos by Adrienne Stewart
Organizers announced today that a record-breaking total of $625,930.45 was raised by 41 local charities competing in this year's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon "Charity Challenge" on September 25th. This is up from $413,245 raised at the 2004 event, and from $198,000 that was raised in 2003, the first year for the Charity Challenge.
The winners of the three $5,000 prizes (each category) were:
An honourable mention also went to Wellspring (Support Centres for People with Cancer and their Loved Ones), who came second in the "Most money" category by less than $800, with $47,120.90, and third in "Most money per runner" with an average of $942.40.
Modelled after the highly-successful Charity Challenge at the London Marathon, that raised £31 million this past April, the Toronto version is unique in Canada, and is being widely acclaimed for its remarkable successes as a relatively new programme, in both fundraising and creating awareness for local charities.
According to Team Philip Aziz co-captain, Christine Fortin, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at this year's Toronto Waterfront Marathon was "beyond all our expectations!"" Most of their team of almost 200 came from the North Bay area, and even included North Bay Mayor, Victor Fedeli.
Sandra Diaz, Manager of Resource Development at The Assaulted Women's Helpline (one of the 2005 "Featured Charities") said,
"The 2005 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon was a huge success for the Assaulted Women's Helpline! We raised critical funds and awareness, solidified an important corporate partnership and made hundreds of new friends for AWHL.
"This event is an exceptional opportunity for AWHL to hold an "athon" fundraiser without the costs, logistics and marketing necessary to make a large-scale event a cost-effective proposition for a charity of our size. We are sincerely grateful to Scotiabank and the marathon.
"Because of our growing success and the model of this event, AWHL plans to make it one of our most important annual fundraising programs for years to come.
"We have raised $30,610. This is more than 50% higher than our goal and almost double what we raised in 2004. We also came close to tripling our team size versus last year's efforts (112 runners)!
"Not only did the Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge raise a lot of money for us, it also helped us actually increase our crisis line volume. More women called our helpline because they learned we existed due to our exposure with this event."
A breakfast, hosted by Scotiabank, will be held on December 15th to celebrate "Charity Challenge 2005", to present the awards to the winners, and to launch the 2006 campaign. All this year's charities, plus any new ones interested in participating in 2006 are invited to attend.