Councillor’s fundraising efforts bring Mayor’s Challenge trophy back to Fort Erie



Councillor’s fundraising efforts bring Mayor’s Challenge trophy back to Fort Erie

McDermott lauded for work to help BBBS of South Niagara

COMMUNITY Apr 24, 2019 by Richard Hutton  Fort Erie Post


Representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Niagara were on hand at the April 22 meeting of Fort Erie council to present the Mayors Challenge trophy to Mayor Wayne Redekop, left, along with a plaque recognizing the town’s fundraising efforts for the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake event. With Redekop are Barb Van Der Hayden, executive director of BBBS of South Niagara, Ward 1 Coun. George McDermott, who raised more than $1,000 of the town’s $1465 total and Jessica Trapani, fundraising and events co-ordinator for the mentoring agency. – Richard Hutton/Metroland

George McDermott looked uncomfortable in his seat at the council horseshoe as words of praise were directed his way.

It was the Ward 1 councillor who was largely responsible for the return of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mayor’s Challenge Cup returning to Fort Erie after a year away from town hall. McDermott raised more than $1,000 of the town’s $1,465 total raised for the annual Bowl for Kids last month.

“It’s very difficult when you’re out in the community to find an individual who year after year after year makes those commitments and comes through,” said former councillor Stephen Passero, who is vice-president of BBBS of South Niagara’s board of directors.

Mayor Wayne Redekop also praised McDermott’s efforts.

“Let me make it clear, we didn’t win that trophy because of our bowling prowess,” he said. “We won it because of Coun. McDermott’s ability to raise money.”

Before presenting the trophy to Redekop and a plaque to McDermott, BBBS Executive Director Barb Van Der Hayden said that a study by the Boston Consulting Group has shown funds raised through events like Bowl for Kids have big impact.

“Every dollar invested in Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs generates a minimum of $18 in social return on investment,” she said. “According to their study, when it comes to hard dollar returns, few investments equal a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

The south Niagara chapter provided programs and services to 604 children in 2018, she added, and that at the start of this year, BBBS has a waiting list of about 150 children “due to a lack of funding and a shortage of volunteers.”

For his part, McDermott admitted that he was a little uncomfortable with the words of praise — but at the same time, he appreciated it.

“I assist Big Brothers Big Sisters because it’s dedicated to helping children,” he said. “I guess I do not feel I am doing something out of the ordinary, just fundraising as much as I can in the period (of) time I have to do it.”

Annually, the South Niagara agency asks the mayors of Welland, Pelham, Fort Erie, Wainfleet and Port Colborne to participate in the BFKS event. The mayor’s team that raises the most funds will be rewarded with the Mayor’s Challenge trophy. This year marked the fifth time that the town has taken the Mayor’s Challenge competition.

This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake raised more than $28,000 for BBBS mentor, in-school and health eating programs.