For six years now, a local charity company has managed to keep a family tradition alive through the generous acts of companies and their own willingness to put the needs of others before themselves.
Motionball, which was first created in 2002 by the Etherington brothers, (Mark, Sean and Paul), is the product of their determination to continue their parents’ charitable works for Special Olympics Canada (SOC).
The brothers decided that it was time to create a company geared towards harnessing the generosity of a younger generation.
Through Motionball, they find innovative and fun ways, such as sporting events and celebrity galas, to get people to donate funds to their company. These earnings are then presented to SOC.
"We are very proud of the amount of money we have raised since 2002 (over $700,000)," Motionball operating committee member, Graham White said. "This gives us a lot of drive to keep up the pace, and raise the bar for future events."
Rewarded by the act of giving
The most recent event was held on April 13, when radio station FLOW 93.5 hosted the campaign Foot Race on Yonge Street.
In this fundraising event, Slim and J.J. King from the morning show, had to race against each other. Prior to the event, listeners were able to go to the station’s website and place online bids as to who would win the race. The money was then given to Motionball and later donated to SOC.
Eva Ramnoth, a FLOW listener and one of the few who donated money towards the event, says that she feels very rewarded by the act of giving.
"I don’t donate very often because I am a student and rarely have enough money for myself," Ramnoth explains. "But when I can spare some change I do, because it makes me feel good to know that I am helping others, who probably need it more than I do."
Although the race did not bring in a substantial amount of money, Motionball is appreciative of FLOW’s participation and their commitment to publicizing the company.
"The FLOW event – while not doing a lot in terms of numbers – was a great way to raise awareness for our organization," White said. "It’s very generous of FLOW 93.5, to get us some much needed publicity & support."
‘The gauntlet has now been dropped’
On their website, http://www.motionball.com, the company announced a new goal they hope to achieve in ten years.
"The gauntlet has now been dropped and the challenge laid: Motionball’s mandate is to raise awareness and funds through the young professional market and over a 10-year period raise in excess of $1 million net for Special Olympics Canada."
White says that it is essential for people to donate and keep donating to SOC because the money not only helps the athletes, but goes towards equipment and training that is essential for the functioning of SOC.
"It’s vital to the Special Olympic community that people donate money. Your dollars don’t just go directly to the athletes. A lot of money is required to operate the Special Olympics as there are over 30,000 athletes and the money is needed to send them to events and training." White said.
Motionball is currently preparing for their next fundraising event, The Marathon of Sport, which will take place on May 5. This competition will consist of 18 teams of 10 people, each one with a Special Olympic athlete.
These teams will compete against one another in various sports. The goal is to raise money and introduce people to the benefits of the Special Olympics and the athletes themselves.
White says that this is a self gratifying event that he is proud to be a part of. "Personally, it’s been very rewarding to have been a part of Motionball for so long. The payoff in doing this kind of work comes when you actually get to see the impact you are having on the athletes’ lives."