With a generous first donation of $20,000, Miracle Theatre and the Prince George Community Foundation are kicking off the Raising Hope Campaign to further support Ukrainians arriving in the city.
The goal is to raise $100,000 for the refugee and hope endowment fund, which will be established through the proceeds of Miracle Theatre’s upcoming production of Dancing Lessons.
The fund will provide support for Share Hope Prince George and the work they are doing in assisting Ukrainians who are settling in our community seeking refuge from the war.
The $20,000 donation, which is the largest cash donation for the foundation that Miracle Theatre has ever received from a member of the public, came from local resident Eli Klasner, the executive director of the community arts council.
“Last week, we marked the anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Indeed, there's much to grieve and much from which to derive strength and hope,” said Klasner. “As a Jew, my family and relatives understand firsthand the threat that evil poses when left unchecked. With its military onslaught, Moscow has shown itself hell bent on carrying out as much carnage and destruction in Ukraine as possible.”
Klasner spoke about obliterated hospitals, schools, cultural treasures, apartment complexes, infrastructure and industrial centres, whole towns and cities in Ukraine that have been razed to the ground as well as the millions of Ukrainians who have had to leave or been internally displaced.
“For me, knowing my own background and the fact that my existence here on Earth is simply because Canada once opened up its doors to my family as refugees. It was an easy decision to help want to kick off this finance this fundraising campaign.”
At a future time, when income from the fund is no longer required to support Ukrainian refugees, the funds will go to support Prince George organizations assisting those who find themselves in the city seeking refuge from violence or disaster – whether they come from across the globe or down the street.
The fund will be managed by the Prince George Community Foundation.
The goal is to raise 60 per cent or $60,000 before opening day of the production of Dancing Lessons on April 1 and then reach $100,000 by the time the show closes.
“We were speechless when Eli approached us about this donation. To have a community leader like Eli come forward and want to support the fundraising work of Miracle Theatre and the community in this huge way is just so uplifting and inspiring,” said producer Anne Laughlin and director Ted Price.
“We just want to make sure that there's resources in place so that these people right now in this crisis, have had the support. So, we're really looking for people to kind of get on board with this right away starting this week,” said Klasner, adding that any amount of donation will help.
“If everyone in the city can contribute just a little bit, we'll be able to reach that goal.”
Those interested in contributing to this campaign can donate on the Foundation’s website at www.pgcf.ca or call the office at 250-562-7772 or mail a donation to the Foundation at 102-1548 7th Avenue V2L 3P4.
The Foundation’s office hours are Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a charitable tax receipt will be provided.
“We know that the need is still very real in our community. The big show of support today will only help to make it a little bit easier for those who are fleeing their homes to find safety by coming to Prince George, “said Mindy Stroet, director of development with the foundation.