Manor’s Tree of Lights Campaign raises over $30,000 in record year

The beautifully lit Tree of Lights shines brightly outside Manitoulin Centennial Manor thanks to many generous donations. photo by Robin Burridge

LITTLE CURRENT—The Tree of Lights fundraising campaign at the Manitoulin Centennial Manor has concluded in a massive success for 2018 and organizers are already looking to ways of making the 2019 campaign even better.

“It always amazes me how generous people are. The support we get is tremendous across the Island,” says Wendy Gauthier, board member and Manor fundraising chair. 

The Tree of Lights is now four years old. It runs year-round but its main push begins each year in November and runs until Christmas.

“People make donations any time of year and this is certainly a valuable fundraiser in helping us maintain the home,” says Ms. Gauthier.

In its first three years, the Tree of Lights has raised over $36,000. For 2018 alone, it raised $30,657—almost as much as the first three years combined.

“I would really like to credit businesses and organizations on the Island, but businesses in particular. Their donations support caring for seniors, making sure they have a safe and healthy environment to live in and the best care possible,” says Ms. Gauthier.

This year, as with last year, the proceeds from the Tree of Lights are being directed towards the Manor’s current fundraising project to replace old carpeting with non-slip flooring. Carpeting can result in trips and falls, as well as increases rolling resistance for people using mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs. Reports have listed flooring as the most important upgrade to the long-term care facility, a goal that is estimated to cost about $100,000.

For the first time, the Manor has welcomed sponsorships from businesses and other organizations, creating gold, silver and bronze sponsorship tiers. This year saw 43 businesses sponsor the Tree of Lights in the new tiers. 

Ms. Gauthier says that besides the inherent benefits of contributing to worthwhile causes, sponsors and donors will see fiscal benefits as well due to the reduced tax burden. Other than fundraising, Manor improvement projects are funded through municipal taxes. Covering the expenses through the means of fundraising means less money will have to be sourced from elsewhere.

“I think people realize that giving a little saves a lot in the end,” says Ms. Gauthier. She adds that there had been many opportunities in 2018 such as music events, curling and dinners where funds had been collected for the Manor and the Tree of Lights. 

“These are community-driven things which are real bonuses when raising money.”

There is a special honour for the highest single donation to the Tree of Lights campaign. That group or individual “tops the tree” and gets to switch on the illuminated star atop the tree. This year, the Little Current Lions Club donated $2,600 to the campaign and got the privilege of lighting the star.

Ms. Gauthier says a significant aspect of supporting the Manor is that fundraising dollars go directly towards the projects at hand.

“They know exactly where the money’s being spent. In addition, that money is helping out people who may be their friends, neighbours or their mom and dad who live there or may make it their home in the future,” she says.

As the Tree of Lights prepares for its fifth year, Ms. Gauthier says she continues to welcome all donations throughout the year, and hopes to expand the sponsorships going forward.

“The Tree of Lights continues to be a meaningful way for people to remember and celebrate loved ones,” she says.