A bugbear for charities is the constant need for fundraising to carry out their good work, so when any such non-governmental organisation can annually raise a significant part of the money with growing success, it is cause to celebrate.
Hence the joy of Clarkson Foundation directors is understandable when, for another year straight, their annual fundraising cocktail saw a large outpouring of support, guaranteeing them a substantial portion of the money needed to carry out their charitable work for the next year.
“We were successful in selling over 500 tickets for this particular function,” said the Foundation’s Chairperson Beverly Smith-Hinkson during the social gathering titled, Chic ‘n’ Charitable3 held at Royal Westmoreland’s Club House Saturday night. Further support came at the event when attendees dug into their pockets again to bid on an auction.
As explained by Smith-Hinkson, established in 2013, the aim of the Clarkson Foundation is to raise funds and initiate programmes for the most vulnerable in the St James North area: disabled, the elderly, persons who fall below the poverty line, and persons who are unemployed and in need of assistance.
“There are a lot of other persons who over the year donated money to the Foundation, or purchased tickets for tonight, whether they are individuals or corporate sponsors,” she said in thanking the foundation’s supporters, “because without your subscriptions, whether in donations or buying tickets, we could not do these programmes”.
Her husband and Foundation patron, Home Affairs Minister Edmund Hinkson, echoed those sentiments.
“You all make what the Foundation does possible,” he said to the almost standing room only gathering of supporters in the glitzy affair.
“Your support, your presence here tonight helps someone, some family in St James North.”
He said that among the most vulnerable assisted in the community are single mothers with many children, the disabled and “old people who live by themselves especially without family support [and] persons with disabilities”.
Amiability aside, there is the important matter of accounting for money raised, and the Foundation’s Chair uses the opportunity of the annual fundraiser to report on how finances were applied in the previous year.
Describing the Visionary Inspirational Brilliant Employable Successful (VIBES) programme as the Foundation’s flagship initiative, she explained it was born out of an observation that despite having completed secondary schooling a high number of young people lacked the soft skills needed to ensure they get employed, or even start their own businesses. She reported a high success rate with the resulting VIBES training programme.
“Having had three programmes, at least 80 per cent of the persons who have passed through the programme are either employed or running their own businesses successfully.”
Barbados TODAY had reported that at the most recent VIBES graduating class late last month only 17 of the 29 graduands were able to receive certificates in person because the others were at newly found jobs based on the course training. And of the four among the 17 who attended the graduation ceremony, three were employed but fortunate not to have clashing work hours that day.
“Over the past year we have supported the churches with their social programmes; 19 churches benefitted from that,” Hinkson-Smith said as she addressed other activities of the Foundation.
“We gave out over 400 hampers to families in the area. We supported schools in their various events and education programmes, graduations, fun days, etcetera. We also worked with the elderly in the community who might have had medical expenses that they couldn’t meet. Over a hundred families benefited from our school programme, in which we gave out money for school items, uniforms, books, bags.” (GA)