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NEWS RELEASE · 27th May 2010
Walter McFarlane
A Special Meeting of the Telethon Society was called on Wednesday, May 26th and held at the Child Development Centre. Representatives of many different organizations came out to discuss whether or not the Telethon will be taking place this year as well as the formation of a Community Foundation to replace the current committee.

“Historically, the Child Development Centre started the Telethon and then moved it into a community telethon supporting all non profit agencies which were eligible for service or for funding. It’s been a phenomenal success in Kitimat and it’s a part of our heritage and our history. So letting it flounder and fail is really scary to us, as we at the centre are very reliant on those fundraised moneys coming in. But maybe it’s time to do things different, so we’re putting that up onto the table,” said Margaret Warcup of the Child Development Centre when she introduced the meeting.

The problem is, to be recognized as a society, an organization such as the Telethon Society must have a certain number of executive positions: Directors, a president, vice president and a treasurer. They should have already sent in their society registration and the deadline for having these positions is on June 30th. Several of these individuals have recently moved on.

The question of the evening was: will people be willing to step into these positions so the Telethon can run it’s 31st year? It was explained people do not understand the Telethon requires the core people from May to October. Denise O’Neill of Kitimat Community Services pointed out another part is the loss of the community show which people look forward to in the fall.

In addition, it would take more people than the approximately 10 people who attended the meeting to fill roles and put on the Telethon. It was suggested they could put on a smaller Telethon than before.

Another option on the table is the recent Community Foundation which Council supported at the meeting on May 17th. The Foundation is a new opportunity as the Northern Development Initiative Trust will match $50,000 fundraised in the next two years but only if you start a new Foundation this year.

“It means we can still run the Telethon as a fundraiser, it means we can do other fundraisers, it means that if we could persuade the District of Kitimat, they could put their sports grants into the foundation and have them matched. There’s all kinds of possibilities in how you establish the Foundation. It does not mean, and that’s one of the biggest peoples fears, if we move to a foundation, it doesn’t mean money raised this year if we went ahead with the telethon don’t get spent this year,” said Warcup.

She explained the money raised and the money matched would be used to build the society. Other communities have decided to go this way. They only have two years to raise the money to be matched. In addition, Prince Rupert and Quesnal also have successful community foundations.

However, since the announcement of the meeting, people have volunteered to fill in these positions. They are Wendy Kraft from Envision and Margaret Klonarakis from Envision. Carol Fielding, who organized Hockeyville in Terrace has also expressed interest in taking a position although the society was uncertain whether she would be able to make all the meetings from Terrace. The society was very grateful for her offer of assistance and will call her for help in other areas.

Liliana Barnard offered to take the role of treasurer and only the role of treasurer. Warcup said she was willing to take the job of president if the Telethon Society would be in consensus of becoming a community organization. O’Neill made a motion to revise the bylaws of the Telethon Society to a Community Foundation. It was carried unanimously. As for the final director position, it was taken by Scott Blackman, a parent who attended to offer to volunteer.

With volunteers to take the positions, the meeting was a success. This means the Telethon will be moving ahead. A working date of October 17th has been set for the Telethon although this could change.
Online
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 27th May 2010
Why don't they put the telethon online or get it on a satelite feed. For years now since I've had my satelite dish I have not been able to watch the event because it is only carried by the local cablevision. Many people in the community have satelite service and would appreciate being able to see it live online or if possible on a satelite station. Because it is such an important event for our community the more people that see it the better.