End of an era for Peninsula foundation fundraiser

End of an era for Peninsula foundation fundraiser

Vintage Affair to be replaced after 23 ‘unbelievable’ years

A tradition that’s raised more than a million dollars for charitable causes on the Semiahmoo Peninsula over the past two decades has come to an end.

Curtis Christopherson, president of Peninsula Community Foundation (formerly the White Rock South Surrey Community Foundation), confirmed Wednesday that a decision to retire Vintage Affair was made at the beginning of the year, in favour of a “reinvented” approach to helping the community.

“We had 23 years of an unbelievable event,” Christopherson said. “We’ve been able to raise, obviously, a lot of money.

“We felt that now’s the time to go out on a high.”

Vintage Affair, held annually in the fall at Hazelmere Golf & Country Club, was the foundation’s signature fundraising event, and routinely attracted hundreds of guests for an evening of wine tasting, gourmet food, door prizes, auctions and entertainment.

Foundation vice-president Mike Anderson said that in the past 10 years alone, it has raised around $800,000, including more than $50,000 at the 2015 event.

Charities and initiatives that those monies have benefited, he said, include the Centre for Active Living ($500,000), Sources’ Christmas hamper program ($180,000), KidSport Surrey ($14,000), Semiahmoo House Society ($8,700), Make-A-Wish Foundation ($6,500, to send a Peninsula boy who is battling leukemia to Atlantis) and 60-Minute Kids Club ($6,000, for fitness programs in local schools).

Another $20,000 has been distributed through one-off grants and sponsorships to organizations; and, two internal endowments have been established – the Love Your Community Fund and the Mental Health Fund, with $49,000 and $25,000 in each of those, respectively.

Anderson and Christopherson told Peace Arch News the aim moving forward is to continue building those funds, while increasing awareness of the foundation’s ability to connect organizations, educate on setting up endowment funds and the like, and “have a little more visibility in the community.”

“A lot of people didn’t know that Vintage Affair was an event we hosted,” Christopherson said, noting it was also becoming more difficult to attract sponsors and attendees.

“Our identity had been directly related and revolved around Vintage, when we’ve done so much more than that. As much as Vintage was a great fundraiser event, it wasn’t the platform to educate and communicate.”

Debbie Magson, who helped with Vintage Affair for six years, beginning in 2007, described news the event had been cancelled as a surprise. It was an event important to late PAN publisher Linda Klitch, she noted. (Klitch, who played an instrumental role organizing Vintage Affair since 2000, died suddenly in September 2011.)

“Linda’s heart was so in it,” Magson said. “To me, Vintage Affair and Linda were hand-in-glove… I wish the Peninsula Community Foundation every success in moving forward.”

That process, Christopherson said, includes continuing to host events, however, they will be on a smaller scale that will facilitate communicating the foundation’s approach and direction.

Part proceeds from a fundraiser set for June 2 at Ocean Park Village Pub will support Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation. (For information email info@peninsulafoundation.ca)

Christopherson said the hope is to net $15,000 to $20,000 at the Love Your Community event, which is to include dinner, drinks and entertainment. A poster describes the evening as an “exclusive event that supports businesses, services and individuals in our community.”

Christopherson thanked those who helped make Vintage Affair a success.

“There (were) some integral community leaders that made Vintage what it is,” he said.