$115,000 Raised at November Fundraiser

Well, Mission Valley Aquatics supporters, this year’s big fundraiser is in the books… “Whew!”

Raising more than $115,000 for Mission Valley Aquatics, this night showcased our $5.2 million swimming pool project, hundreds of talented local artists and fabulous soup chefs from across Northwestern Montana. Even more importantly, though, the Fill the Pool Bowl by Bowl Soup Dinner and Auction brought out the best in the Mission Valley community.

On this chilly November eve, more than 1,000 people came out to support one of the largest privately-funded community projects in local history. Over 10 years in the making, the MVA campaign was founded on the fact that this is a facility that will benefit everyone, and it will take a unified effort from everyone to make it happen.

Indeed, the event required many long hours and many, many volunteers who stepped up when asked, some for months leading up to the big night — planning bowl painting parties, combing the streets for donations, rounding up the dinner menu, glazing more than 600 soup bowls by hand, and firing soup bowls free of charge. To those volunteers and others — THANK YOU.

Below are a few photos from the night, courtesy of Sheila Lake. Also below is an article, written by Bryce Gray, editor of the Lake County Leader. Finally, here’s a link to a photo gallery by Linda Sappington of the Valley Journal and news clip from KPAX.

Thank you again for making this night so special, and for helping to reinvigorate the fundraising campaign for this project, which has been so many years in the making. With just around $650,000 to go before we can finish construction, please continue to spread the word to folks you know about making a donation to MVA. We won’t stop until we’re all swimming!



Soup-er successful

By Bryce Gray / Lake County Leader

POLSON — After a marathon evening of fielding bids from an overwhelmingly supportive crowd, auctioneer Clifford Rustad must be feeling a little hoarse. Rustad was called in to conduct Saturday’s live auction to benefit the nearly-completed Mission Valley Aquatic Center, which is making its final fundraising push.

The live auction was simply one of many revenue generators employed by the Aquatic Center, as the event also included a soup dinner with paid admission, a hand-painted bowl sale and a silent auction.

MVA project director Tana Seeley made a conservative estimate that 1,000 people attended the evening’s festivities.

One figure that Seeley could say with a little more certainty was that the event helped the facility bring in approximately $115,000, with nearly $100,000 stemming from the live auction, alone. Sales of hand-painted bowls, which had been decorated beforehand by patrons of the event and other supporters of the project, brought in an additional $4,500. About 500 of the glazed bowls were sold in addition to over 100 dazzling ceramics pieces up for bid in the silent auction.

After purchasing bowls, the next logical thing to do was to fill them with soup, where attendees faced a true omnivore’s dilemma. Over 30 varieties of soup were available to satiate the hunger of auction-goers, with each pot donated by restaurants from Kalispell down to Missoula.

While many entered the tent for the soup, they stayed for the auction, which was the centerpiece of the night’s action, as scores of marquee items ranging from rifles to artwork to sea kayaks to a trip to the set of FOX’s NFL pre-game show were snatched up by generous bidders.

“That helped us a lot but it’s not going to quite get us there,” Seeley said of the fiscal boost provided by the event. “We still are hoping that we can finish (construction) this winter but we need to figure out a loan opportunity or get some more donations to make sure that we can complete this project.”

Seeley reported that prior to the fundraiser, the organization had needed to cover an estimated $800,000 in construction costs before the center could officially open. Now, despite Saturday’s infusion of cash, the magic number stands just below the $700,000 threshold.

Seeley and other members of the Aquatic Center staff were yet again left awestruck by the robust outpouring of moral and monetary support from the community, which has solidly been behind the project for years.

“It’s amazing,” said a humbled Seeley. “(Saturday) really showed that it is a valley-wide thing. There were people that came from all directions – even people from Missoula and Kalispell came – so I know that the attendance at this aquatic center is going to be good and that’s a good feeling and a good thought to know that so many people are interested and willing to come out and support it.”

“There are so many people that we have to thank,” Seeley said of the volunteer- and donation-driven event. “Anything we turned and asked for, people were willing to help. It was just great.”

Web link to Leader story: http://www.leaderadvertiser.com/news/article_a471387e-2f52-11e2-8348-001a4bcf887a.html

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Mission Valley Aquatic Center
P.O. Box 774
Polson, Montana 59860

(406) 883-4567