With fundraising for the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre reconstruction and sports hall of recognition well behind schedule, one city councillor would like to see Brantford cancel its contract with fundraiser KCI Ketchum Canada before even more money is sunk into the campaign.
Coun. Vince Bucci is skeptical that, having raised only $56,135 in eight months, KCI can pull in $5.4 million in sponsorship and donations by next spring.
The city is paying the professional fundraiser $25,000 per month, which works out to $204,304 in fees from the start of the contract in February until the end of September.
“We’ve paid them $204,000 (and) they’ve been able to raise $56,000,” Bucci said. “Somehow, it doesn’t work for me.”
Staff reported that KCI is awaiting final decisions on $1.46 million in potential donations from seven donors and is in discussions to secure roughly the same amount from 14 other sources. KCI hopes to raise a total of $5.4 million, with the company’s $350,000 maximum fee deducted from that total.
The contract with KCI is for 14 months, though the city has an out clause it can exercise at any time, said general manager of community services Greg Dworak.
However, the city will have to make up any difference should the campaign not raise enough money to cover KCI’s fees.
“I just don’t think the city should be involved in fundraising,” Bucci said. “It’s a fundamental error in judgment.”
Now that initial research has been completed and potential donors are identified, Bucci would like to see volunteers, rather than professional fundraisers, pursue the donations.
At Monday’s meeting of council, Bucci sought to have politicians terminate the city’s contract with KCI, but did not get the required two-thirds support. Instead, the issue will return in November when representatives from KCI appear at committee of the whole on Nov. 5.
Fundraising for the Gretzky centre is a hard sell when compared to causes such as the hospice or hospital, Bucci said.
“The philanthropists in Brantford will give money to a good cause,” he said. “But they and all of us as taxpayers are already paying for (the Gretzky centre).”
As work has already begun on improvements at the centre – including an eight-lane swimming pool, warm water therapy pool and dry land training area – the city will have to find the money should the fundraising campaign fall short, Bucci said.
KCI fundraiser Karen Wilson could not be reached for comment on this story.