New Roads women take a night out to fundraise
Kelly Broome-Plumley believes in the power of women connecting with one another. On March 6th, two days before the yearly celebration of International Women’s Day, she and her colleagues at New Roads Automotive Group hosted their 4th annual Girls’ Night Out. Since 2010, the dealership has been using the event to raise money for the Women’s Centre of York Region, of which Broome-Plumley is Vice Chair. One hundred percent of the proceeds from tickets, raffles, and the silent auction were bequeathed to the Centre.
“We thought, what better way to celebrate women than to invite female entrepreneurs and women-centred businesses to network with one another,” she said on Thursday evening. Some of the businesses represented included direct sales, such as Pampered Chef and Avon, as well as life-coaching, hairstyling, visual arts, and others. The evening drew some very notable attendees, including the mayor of Newmarket, Tony Van Bynen; York Region’s only female mayor, Virginia Hackson of East Gwillimbury; and Gabrielle Daleman, an Olympic skater that, at age 16, was the youngest Canadian in Sochi.
Kirsten Eastwood, executive director of the Centre, spoke at the event. “This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is inspiring change, and everyone here tonight is doing just that. Our goal is to make sure that every woman coming to us has access to a network.” She went on to say that although the Centre receives funding from various corporate and federal grants, they still need to raise about $200,000 every year to supplement their costs.
“Sometimes it can be difficult to articulate the work that we do,” Eastwood went on. “But what our work shows is a 12-to-1 social return on investment. What that means is that for every one dollar of investment in the Centre, we can return a value of twelve dollars to the women and to the community.” Eastwood says that the funds will be directed at areas with the greatest need. “We look at it on a case-by-case basis,” she says. “Certainly, we can say at this point that our Business Incubator program represents a great need.” The program provides women with entrepreneurial skills. Graduates of the program now operate some of the businesses represented on Thursday.
Although the final figures are still being tallied, current estimates are at $5,000 for total funds raised. Kirsten Eastwood says that last year’s total was about $2,500, making this year’s proceeds a momentous doubling. Says Kirsten Eastwood, “It was a great night to celebrate women.”
To make a donation, or to learn more about the Women’s Centre of York Region, visit www.womenscentreyorkregion.com.
Written by Kelly Reid