Grass Roots Park/Playground Fundraising Takes Community & Leader
St Croix Recreation asked Tammy Palmer of the City of Cook to share some of the city’s fantastic fundraising initiatives. Beyond the playground build, the City of 600, has successfully managed to raise over $250,000 for a Community Center. The City understands that fundraising is a huge factor in their efforts to replace and build new playgrounds and community spaces for their residents. While there is still a benefit to traditional methods of finding funds; seeking out grant opportunities or using traditional tactics such as pledges and donations, those that include the community involving in an activity or an experience tend to be more successful and thus, profitable. Tammy says that ‘Grants are harder to come by these days, more than even five years ago,’ and she has proved that by using engaging fundraising tactics, donors are more responsive and goals are met.
One annual event that has become a tradition for the City of Cook is Wings & Things that grossed over $15,000 this past year. The event sells chicken wings at their local VFW, puts on Bingo (for four hours), and hosts a silent auction and raffle that includes giving away a ‘Barrel of Booze’ and other various prize-winning games. By making the fundraiser an inclusive and fun event, participation has increased and it has become something that the community looks forward to year after year.
The City also hosts a golf tournament that raises between $3-4,000 per year on average. On holiday weekends, they appeal to visitors and tourists with a Brat Sale. Seasonally, they facilitate Music in the Park events and, to break up the winter, they put on Snow Days. This annual town festival attracts community members and keeps them active in their community; complete with a Medallion Hunt and a dance.
“People will do anything for children,” Tammy says. And, she has seen people do a lot. It’s wonderful to see a small town community pull together for their needs through events that keep them engaged and feeling like they are truly a part of their home. The benefit then becomes more than just the dollar raised, but the community involvement, pride and spirit.