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Gala helps Rankin organizations

The annual Holiday Gala and fundraiser was another smash hit in Rankin Inlet on Dec. 9.

Pujjuut Kusagak, left, Patti Harris, second from right and Alysha Slaney, far right, present a $10,000 donation to Evan Morrison and Ford Widrig, centre, of the Rankin Inlet Fitness Centre during the annual Holiday Gala and fundraiser in Rankin on Dec. 9. photo courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

The hamlet of Rankin Inlet and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) teamed up to present four $10,000 donations to deserving community groups during the gala.

This year's recipients were the Fitness Centre, the Arctic Wolves soccer program, the Ivvavik Day Care and the Community Christmas Hamper.

Hamlet senior administrative officer Justin Merritt said the gala donations are important to the community of Rankin Inlet.

He said it's a way the hamlet works with AEM to put money directly into the community and help a number of deserving organizations each year.

Most of the money that comes from AEM goes into things like the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement, royalties paid to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and taxes paid to the various levels of government, but the only money the hamlet actually receives, other than the very good benefits of employment, is the $169,000 per year AEM contributes to us for four projects, and one of them is the annual gala,” said Merritt.

The other three are $50,000 to student summer employment, $25,000 that enables us to buy sea cans to store batteries and propane tanks so they're not going into the dump anymore, and $54,000 that goes toward the AEM Family Fun Day during the summer.

Every cent of the $169,000 goes back into the community.

There's no administration fee or anything like that, so, what the hamlet takes in, we spend.”

A proposal call goes out to the community for groups to apply for the $10,000 gala donations, and a committee is put in place to go over the applications and select the four organizations to receive the donations.

There were seven applications submitted for the four donations given out this year.

Merritt said the profits from the bar at this year's gala went to the local fire department because it's been working so hard to fundraise for much-needed equipment.

He said that raised the total to $47,000, which went directly into the community from this year's event.

The six-person committee rated the seven applications from one to seven and the four with the best scores received the donations.

So now, during the past two years, we have eight groups on our list that we've helped and, going forward, if we get enough submissions, we'll look at helping different groups so we're spreading the money around a bit.

The scores from the submissions were very close, especially from groups two to six, but it worked out that nobody was tied, so that's what we went with.

The gala was very successful and the community's new taxi service, Nupa Taxi, donated its drivers to take people home by taxi or drive their vehicles home if they'd been drinking during the evening.”

Evan Morrison of the Fitness Centre said the staff members are happy the community continues to support the facility.

He said the centre doesn't have the funding to be able to improve its current services to the community, so the donation was most welcome.

This is a project that Gavin Gee, Ford Widrig, and I started back in 2014 with the help of the community, and the Fitness Centre has come a long way since then, and it’s nice to be recognized for it,” said Morrison.

The donation gave us the ability to install a brand new and much-needed floor in our fitness facility.

At first, the donation wasn't going to be enough to purchase the flooring and get it all up here, but Arctic Connections worked with us and they were able to get enough of a discount on the shipping charges to get it all done for the $10,000.

The biggest thing of it all to me, personally, was to be recognized by the community this way but the money sure helps too.”