Urban Squash Cleveland
(USC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping inner-city kids succeed in both academic and athletic settings. This unique after school program was initiated in 2010, and offers middle school and high school students essential tutoring as well as a chance to learn and participate in squash competitions locally and internationally. Practices are held at one of two locations six days a week. Students who participate in this enrichment program are able to experience life beyond their communities and express a greater interest in furthering their education beyond high school.
Squash skills build on fitness and endurance abilities, as well as coordination and discipline. The students also receive life skills training via a mentor relationship and required community service. Part of the programming includes overnight trips, field trips, and academic speakers. The students walk away with an inspiration and love for learning, as well as self-confidence, and a healthy relationship with their team members.
USC teams up with local schools to identify middle school students for acceptance to the program. The students are selected based on skill, but more importantly on factors such as effort, commitment, and good attitude. The program involves 20 new fifth and sixth grade students each year.
The Racquets Rally which was held on November 6, 2015 was a full day fundraising event in order to raise awareness for the cause and to raise funds for a full time squash director. Eight teams competed in a squash and paddle tournament, with a winner for the most successful team and the most successful fundraiser. "The Bash", a party to celebrate with food, drinks, and an auction followed the competition and allowed for celebration after four hours of intense play.
Sixty participants attended the Racquets Rally event, and over $50,000 was raised, which surpassed the fundraising goal USC set. Executive director, Iago Cornes, says: "Our 2015 Racquets Rally event was a phenomenal success and helped us reach our fundraising goal."
USC utilized the fundraising and event management platform, Wizathon. Cornes believes,"Wizathon’s administrative tools were very helpful for managing our event fundraising." The Wizathon system provides a website featuring the event and organization information, including a prominent display of the participants, sponsors, and the fundraising target. The organization can also manage the event via the back end system to track how the campaign is going and keep in close contact with the team members.
Each participant receives a customizable fundraising page in order to promote themselves and their teams. Cornes concludes, "The feature we liked the most and found very effective for fundraising, was that donors could easily make donations to either individual participants or teams via their personal fundraising pages."
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