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AWA Portland Shark Tank event raises more than $40,000 for the community

On Tuesday 3rd September over 100 local people decided to donate more than $40,000, thanks to the first live crowdfunding event to be held in Portland. Research shows that people are more likely to support something that already has funds against it. With $12,000 in matched funds ($4000 guaranteed for each charity) provided by AWA Alliance Bank, the stories told by the organisation's advocates quickly got things moving.

The Philanthropic Shark Tank, presented by United Way Glenelg, captured a diverse group of individuals, students, businesses and service clubs to hear a six-minute pitch from three community organisations. Their stories determined whether they should open their wallets before challenging those in the room to do the same.

Shara Rose from Standing Tall kicked off the proceedings by speaking passionately about the role mentors play in building the strength and resilience of young people who are at risk of disengaging from school. The program needed $6,000 to provide on-going training and support for 3-4 additional mentor pairings.

Kerry Picard-Arnott, from Portland Community Mealshare, had the room in tears as she shared the story of a homeless man. The hot meal and kindness showed from the volunteers, and fellow patrons gave him the feeling of connection for the first time in many years. Portland Community MealShare needed $6,000 to expand the meals to 2-3 times a week.

The final pitch came from the youngest presenter, 16-year-old Charlie Bassett on behalf of Glenelg Live4Life. Charlie wanted the audience to know that youth mental health needed to be put back into the hands of young people. Supporting young people to become ambassadors would reduce barriers to seeking help for emerging or current mental health issues. $6,000 raised would support 45 young people through the 2020 Live4life crew induction and training program.

With the pitchers asked to leave the room, it was up to the passionate advocates to start the pledging process. It doesn't take long to see just how contagious giving can be.

It took less than 20 minutes for Standing Tall to receive $15,700, Portland Community MealShare $13,300 and Glenelg Live4Life $13,950.

Graeme Scannell, CEO of  AWA Alliance Bank, said the night exceeded all expectations.

"It was an excellent effort for the community to raise more than $40,000. AWA has been so pleased to be partnering to create this event.

"I can assure you we will be back next year with a bigger contribution to produce more support for these community organisations. This is the start of a long term commitment by us to support the Portland Community."

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