Innovation Credit Union has stepped forward as a Patron Level Sponsor for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in August.
During a cheque presentation on Friday, Innovation made a $25,000 financial sponsorship for the Games, with this contribution giving them naming rights for the Athletes’ Village which will host the approximately 1,700 athletes who will be participating in the 16 sport athletic competition.
“We’re extremely happy to partner with Innovation on this,” admitted Scott Cassidy, Chairperson of Friends of the Games. “I think (it’s) a good news story going into the end of the year, and just something that we’ve been working on with Innovation for about six months already. So we were kind of excited to get it done and just maybe spread the good news that people in our community are investing in these Games.”
The 1,700 to 1,800 athletes participating in the August 9 to 18 Games will be staying at the Athletes’ Village which will be housed at both the Swift Current Comprehensive High School and Irwin School.
“Their investment into our Games shows a lot. I think for them, they’re obviously looking to branch out past the Western half of the province and go with their federal initiative,” Cassidy noted.
Innovation Credit Union CEO Dan Johnson explained that in addition to their Patron level sponsorship, they are additionally teaming with credit unions across the province who have put together some sponsorship money to serve as a Bronze Level sponsor.
“For us, when we look at our corporate sponsorship profit, we want to make sure that we’re allocating resources to a number of different areas, whether its arts or science, and sports is always a part of that roster of things,” Johnson explained.
“So when we look at where we allocate our funds and when we look for opportunities like this. This just seemed to make sense for us so that we can make sure that we’re divvying up our support and our development to the various parts of the communities. This one is even more important I think because it’s not just Swift Current, it’s not just Southwest, it’s actually Western Canada. So you’re going to have people coming to this part of the province during that time period and we think that it’s a good time for us to show that the Innovation Credit Union and the Credit Unions of Saskatchewan are in support.”
He noted the sponsorship was also an easy decision because the Games will have a legacy component for Swift Current and the Southwest. He pointed to the Mountain Bike Course which will remain in the community as a recreation asset as just one example.
“When you look at some of the things that’ll be left as legacy projects in the community, it just makes a ton of sense for us and other corporations to get involved.”
Johnson added that the Games have a multi level importance to the community.
“I think there’s a whole bunch of important elements from a sport perspective, but if you look at it from an economic perspective, anytime you have an event of this magnitude and the people that will be coming here to stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants and just get to know this part of the province, for even ongoing opportunities to travel and visit, it’s just a really good opportunity for us to be a part of that success.”
Cassidy explained that the Friends of the Games are tasked with raising $900,000 to $1 million in financial support, along with an equal amount of value in kind contributions.
“We’re feeling good,” he admitted. “We’re roughly over a quarter of our way to that goal. Whether we’ve collected cash from these different business sponsors, and as well signed contracts for value in kind. We are eager to achieve our goal. We have lots of good conversations in the pipeline right now with businesses all across Canada. We’re very confident we can get there.”
Cassidy said this is a key opportunity for local, provincial and national companies to help showcase Swift Current and Saskatchewan.
“Swift Current is just fortunate to host this event,” he said. “Saskatchewan hasn’t hosted it for 20 years. The last time was Prince Albert. And this is a truly provincial event that we can showcase our province and of course the Southwest community here. And that’s our goal.”
“We’re trying to showcase Swift Current and Southwest Saskatchewan here. So far when we have those conversations, everybody is on board and looking to get involved.”
He said with the turning of the calendar to 2019 in just a few days will signal the start of an aggressive next phase of Games recruiting. In January there will be a focus on finalizing the sponsorship of the Games along with a launching of a major volunteer recruitment campaign.
“Going into next year, the first quarter is going to be very key to bringing on more sponsors…and then closer to the Games we’ll have more call for volunteers. And all of a sudden, like nothing, it’s going to be here and it’ll be our time to showcase the Southwest.”