$1.9 million. That is how much money the Group Health Centre (GHC) and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Sault Ste. Marie will be splitting following the Catch the Ace lottery hosted by Dom and Boomer Braido at the George Wellington Esquire Club.
This Catch the Ace was long, as the ace was the final card drawn by Harold Archibald, the lucky winner of $1.2 million, and attracted massive crowds and media attention.
But at the heart of all the fun and excitement, the awe as we watched our brave fellow Saultites camp out on Second Line in the rain to stand in line, was the true reason all of this was started – to benefit local non-profit organizations.
And that is exactly what happened.
Glyn Heatley, local BBBS president told SaultOnline that Catch the Ace money for the last couple of years has been a lifeline. “People don’t realize that for the last two years, we’ve been close to closing the doors. Last year’s Catch the Ace and this year’s have not only helped keep the door opened, but helped to open future ones. It means we can expand our programs.”
When asked what the specific impact on the organization is, Heatley said that BBBS currently services eighty-five children, but there are five hundred that could use it. “It will take us a long time, but we can expand now from here.”
As an organization that runs solely on fundraising, BBBS – like so many other non-profits with limited resources – often face donor fatigue. So when the Braidos approached BBBS just over eighteen months ago to be participants of Catch the Ace fundraising, first with the municipal license and now with the provincial, BBBS was ecstatic to accept.
Of the working relationship with the Esquire Club, Heatley explained “Boomer and Dom have been phenomenal. They have worked tirelessly and driven all the success the lottery has had. With few resources, we tried to help with promotion, group plays, and volunteering. We jumped at the opportunity to provide assistance wherever we could.”
BBBS and GHC will find out on Sunday, which is when the cheques are presented from the Esquire, exactly how much they are each receiving and how the money was split.
In terms of what’s next, BBBS has a lot going on in the next couple of months. They recently announced the appointment of a new Executive Director, and they also have to move out of their Boston Avenue location by the end of the year, as the facility is being reverted back to housing by the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board. Heatley said “We need to find a new location to operate the agency out of, and we need to create a financial plan to use the money wisely and carry on with the sustainability of the agency.”
Heatley doesn’t have details yet, but has confirmed that their organization will be one of four involved in the next Catch the Ace, which Boomer stated last Thursday would begin in early November.
Tune into ONNtv and SaultOnline on Sunday to check out cheque presentation coverage!