Jr. Kings’ fundraising efforts in full force
It’s no secret ice hockey is an expensive sport, and for participating players and their families – especially in Southern California – it’s not getting any cheaper.
Higher-ups in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings organization are well aware, and working harder than ever to architect and execute innovative fundraising strategies that will drive its members’ costs down while still delivering an unparalleled youth hockey experience.
“There’s a general perception that hockey is a white-collar sport, and while that may be true, it shouldn’t undermine the commitment a lot of organizations, including our club, make towards building not only better hockey players, but more importantly socially-mature, community-minded young men and women,” said Jr. Kings executive director Kelly Sorensen.
“We know not every one of our players will play in the NHL or receive a NCAA scholarship, but what we’re doing here is nurturing and mentoring these kids properly and putting them in a position to succeed wherever life takes them, and that’s the message we want to emphasize to both our membership and other families and businesses in the area.”
And the Jr. Kings are quickly moving in the right direction. Recently, GuideStar – an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies – recognized the organization as a Silver participant (one step below top-level Gold), solidifying their status as a viable 501(c)(3).
“That’s going to enhance our reputation from a fundraising-recipient standpoint,” said Sorensen.
The Jr. Kings already have a few successful fundraising initiatives in place, among them their annual golf tournament and dinner, which this year was held on Aug. 4 at Mountain Gate Country Club in Los Angeles.
At the event, more than $10,000 was raised for the Jr. Kings’ Financial Assistance Program – $1,000 of which was donated to the Twin Peaks Breast Cancer Foundation.
Also in conjunction with Twin Peaks, over $160,000 has been generated over the last two years by the Jr. Kings’ membership through selling women’s cosmetics.
“That dollar figure speaks volumes to the time and effort our players and families have put into that campaign, and we can’t thank them enough,” said Sorensen.
A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is also traditionally held around the holidays, and the organization plans to unveil an alumni game at El Segundo’s Toyota Sports Center (TSC) – home of the Jr. Kings – next summer.
“These are all outstanding events and extremely valuable to our club and our membership and we look forward to seeing each of them becoming bigger and better every year, but we want to raise the bar much higher,” said Sorensen. “We’re moving full steam ahead at it relates to soliciting donations from both the local hockey community and beyond; we owe it to our players and our families.”
Sorensen points to the costs of ice time, as well as Jr. Kings’ commitment to providing professional coaches at every level, as reasons to up its fundraising game.
What’s more, the club is working towards raising funds to build out its new education center, which will be located at TSC, in the very near future. The room’s blueprint includes study cubicles for its student-athletes, as well as an area for off-ice video and whiteboard sessions.
“This is an exciting opportunity, and one we believe will take us to another level in terms of the developmental experience for our kids, both on the ice and in the classroom,” said Sorensen. “These are the types of elements that make our program so successful and respected, and it’s the generosity of local families and businesses that make them a reality.”
In the end, Sorensen is bullish on making a difference when it comes to quelling the financial stigma associated with the sport, specifically within the Jr. Kings organization.
“I want to see us with an endowment where we can continue to provide the best possible youth hockey experience, and at the same time offer much more financial assistance to our current families and those who want and deserve to be a part of our club,” he said.