Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan (BBBSMI) typically hosts one of its beloved annual fundraisers, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, each spring. Individuals and organizations across the region participate as a way to have some fun and support the community during the period between the winter holiday parties and summer barbeques. Western Diversified Plastics had over 50 bowlers on 11 teams participate in 2019’s event, said Human Resources Manager Sue Prudden, “It’s a great opportunity to serve our local community.” The Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors also takes part in the fun, reserving an entire session for their members.
Due to COVID-19, BBBSMI has reimagined the annual event to change it to a cornhole party, taking place in August and September. The beloved backyard game was a great alternative to the traditional bowling event because it provides opportunities for social distancing and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Director of Fund Development at BBBSMI Kori Jock explained that safety and supporting local businesses were their number one priority when they reinvented the fundraiser. “This event wouldn’t be what it is [today] without our strong partnerships with our hosts,” said Kori. “Kalamazoo Cornhole is partnering with us too and they’re going to teach folks how to play if needed.” Groups of four can now sign up to begin fundraising (minimum of $60/person or $240/team) and pick their competition date.
The company that raises the most money not only claims bragging rights, but also the privilege of holding onto the traveling trophy for the year. But if fundraising isn’t quite in your middle name, all attendees are eligible to receive a Wacky Award, “We gave out a West Coast Best Coast award one year to the bowlers who came from South Haven,” said Kori. “We just make up the silliest things.”
The event is a great opportunity for a little fun and important fundraising for BBBSMI programming. Kori explained that the community and organizational support is inspiring to see because of the impact it has on future generations. “People can really connect to mentors that they have had in their life or who they’ve mentored themselves. So, I feel it’s really simple to draw the connection between employees and doing something together to raise money so that young people in the community can have mentors.”