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150th sponsorships exceed expectations

The St. Albert 150th committee is feting its local sponsors Friday night as a thank you for the cash and in-kind donations that helped bring the yearlong party to fruition. Not including the City of St.

The St. Albert 150th committee is feting its local sponsors Friday night as a thank you for the cash and in-kind donations that helped bring the yearlong party to fruition.

Not including the City of St. Albert, 60 different sponsors chipped in $436,000 for the city's 150th birthday party, in excess of what the sponsorship subcommittee originally hoped for.

"We started in March of 2010 and reached $250,000 by September," said Donna Lazaruk, chair of the sponsorship subcommittee. The group then challenged itself to raise even more and surpassed the $400,000 mark.

"Especially in a year where there was so much going on, everyone knocking on their door, this was still a priority for them," Lazaruk said of the sponsors.

The biggest sponsor was the City of St. Albert, which chipped in $500,000 in cash and picked up the rent for the 150th committee's office space. The federal government chipped in $114,000 and the province, through the St. Albert Community Foundation, added $75,000 to the pot.

The next biggest sponsor was Canadian Western Bank, which wrote a cheque for $50,000 and landed the naming rights to the 150th gala in January.

"We were absolutely delighted with the results and the experience of doing it," said Lazaruk. "We took a very old-fashioned, simple approach and just picked up the phone and called businesses. We found them very welcoming and surprised to hear we were doing this."

Many of the sponsors wanted their money or support directed towards specific events, which were spelled out in contracts that 150th chair Margaret Plain said the committee honoured.

"Some wanted their money put towards legacy projects and some activities. And for some it didn't matter so we were free to put it where we needed it most," Plain said.

Between sponsorships, private donors and merchandise sales, Plain predicts the final budget for the yearlong celebration will come in balanced, if not with a small surplus.

Lazaruk said members of the committee were surprised at the stories individual businesses had to tell and their commitment to the 150th.

"I was so thrilled, as was the committee, with the willingness of the business community to participate in this historical event and leave the community with a legacy. Some were leaving a legacy for their family. We have businesses that have been here for generations. It was heart-warming to hear how much they wanted to help."

Sponsors event

The 150th will host all of the sponsors at the St. Albert Curling Club Friday where each one will receive either an original piece of art from the St. Albert Potters' Guild or a certificate, depending on the level of sponsorship.

"We're just very appreciative of the businesses and companies that stepped forward and provided that kind of support for the residents of St. Albert," Plain said. "Big kudos to them doing it.

"This doesn't happen unless a lot of people get involved and a lot of people did."