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AIDS Calgary joins charities cancelling fundraisers

CBC News
February 11, 2009

One of the year's biggest charity fundraisers in Calgary has been cancelled because of the economic downturn.

AIDS Calgary has cancelled its Calgary Cares gala because of a lack of sponsors. The popular event involved music, theatre, dance, and fashion.

"People just weren't comfortable or ready to make a commitment to the event. I would say we had a reduction of pretty close to 50 to 70 per cent interest," said Susan Cress, executive director of the AIDS Calgary Awareness Association.

The event is expensive to put on and organizers were worried that if sponsors couldn't donate, then surely it would be tough to sell $150 tickets, said Cress.

Several local charities are scaling back their fundraising efforts, with organizers saying Calgarians are donating less money due to financial pressures.

Scholarship fundraiser scrapped

On Monday, Helping Youth Through Educational Scholarships (HYTES ) canceled a Valentine's evening event in Calgary.

The group raises money to send impoverished children from developing countries to school. The event was meant to raise enough money for 85 scholarships. But the organization had only sold 50 of its 200 tickets, despite dropping the price to $75.

The cancellation of charity events doesn't surprise David Howard, owner of The Event Group, a Calgary-based company that plans corporate and private events across Canada.

"The fact is, there's a lot of competition for the charity dollar. As we get into tougher times, you know, people spending time on philanthropy, that goes down a little."

Cress said AIDS Calgary will still seek donations through other means, especially cash donations.

"Every day, one in five of the world's population - some 800 million people - go hungry."
- Jessica Williams