Tue, May 31, 2022 10:27 AM
More than 100 people leapt 9000 feet at the weekend in a bid to raise funds for a vital community education provider.
The Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Drop for Youth saw students, teachers, business people and community stalwarts plummeting from a plane over two days in Murchison.
And regional manager Kelvyn Watt says, thanks to the generosity of Marlborough, their $100,000 goal was smashed by more than $30,000 - making the fundraiser one of the biggest in New Zealand.
“It’s really blown us away – the level of support and community engagement,” Kelvyn says.
“This is far away the most [money raised]; we’ve never raised this much from one of these.
“I think we’ve raised over $100,000 with Dazzle, our black-tie event. But this, this is by and far the biggest fundraiser we’ve done – and I suspect the biggest nationally.”
He says not only the number of jumpers, but the number of supporters that got behind the fundraiser, is humbling.
“We’re a community initiative – it helps to have great people behind it.”
The Graeme Dingle Foundation provide several educational programmes to more than half of the students in Marlborough.
Their programmes instil values, builds resilience, prepare children to transition to secondary school, guide students into work, and more.
Kelvyn says the money raised stays right here, for the youth of Marlborough and goes toward running the Foundation’s programmes.
He says pandemic restrictions have hampered their ability to fundraise, so the incredible effort by the community is timely.
“About a quarter of our initiatives are supported by fundraising, and we haven’t been able to run our big ones.
“Our programme delivery costs are 99 per cent funded by Marlborough.”
It’s the third time Marlburians have jumped out of a plane for the cause, but the beginning of the fundraiser had more humble beginnings.
Drop for Youth kicked off in 2014 with Drop your Boss – where local businesspeople were dropped off the side of the parking building on High Street.
“That started the whole thing,” Kelvyn says.
“A couple of abseils off the car parking building. It was picked up nationally and it happens all over New Zealand now.”
Kelvyn says the variety of people supporting was just amazing.
Students, teachers, business people, and a Kiwi Can kid’s grandmother all heeded the call for jumpers.
“There are three college students that went through Kiwi Can, now they’re coming back to support it,” Kelvyn says.
“Some of them reached their goal quickly, so they helped the other students reach their goals. There’s a bit of that – helping one another to reach their goals.”
He says he’s happy to have smashed their goal.
“It’s just amazing – it’s mad.”