Retired architect challenges others to match donations at Cool Aid ‘homecoming’

A Victoria man is pledging $25,000 to a charity event that raises money for people with low incomes to access housing, health care and job training in the hopes of seeing his contribution matched by other donors.

Retired architect Andrew Beckerman said he’s found two donors to help match up to $40,000 for Cool Aid’s signature fundraising event, the Homecoming Gala May 25 at Ship Point.

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The organization hopes to raise $150,000 through private donations, ticket sales and an auction to support the “least advantageous people in the city,” Beckerman said.

Cool Aid serves people living in poverty with a wide range of free services, including mental-health counselling, dental care and emergency housing.

Beckerman said he supports Cool Aid’s work because he understands the importance of secure housing.

“I know for people to succeed in any way that they define it, it’s a whole lot easier if you’re doing it from under a roof.”

Fiona Goodband has been using many of Cool Aid’s services since shortly after she moved to Victoria from the U.K. in 2012. Goodband has struggled with depression and feeling suicidal.

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said.

The gala will be held under a tent designed to resemble a home, with a kitchen, dining room and patio area, to reflect Cool Aid’s mission to provide housing for people living in poverty. Guests will be invited to bid on a range of auction items, from a 12-night cruise for two to anywhere in the world to a wheelbarrow filled with craft beer.

The inaugural Homecoming Gala in 2017 raised more than $90,000 for the organization, and last year’s event brought in $140,000.

The gala is nearly sold out, with only 25 tickets remaining. Tickets cost $150.


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