By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN In a tough economy, fundraising for nonprofits can be that much more difficult.
As a new way of raising scholarship money for local high school students, the Cokato Lions Club is hoping trading will become the next big thing.
Cokato Lion Mark Redman was introduced to the idea of trading items of increasing value, which are later sold to fund a greater cause after watching a news segment featuring the Big Trade Up, a project to fund $250,000 in scholarships for underprivileged children in the Twin Cities.
Intrigued that through trading a Number 2 pencil could turn into a $100,000 Timberwolves season package, Redman contacted the co-founder of the Big Trade Up, Tony DelDotto.
Redman explained to DelDotto that the Cokato Lions host a fundraiser each year with the goal of raising $2,000 for approximately four Dassel-Cokato High School student scholarships.
Though the goal is quite a bit smaller, the idea is the same and DelDotto supported the project and allowed the use of the name. He even made the first trade with the club by trading the book, “Interior Freedom” for a Cokato Lions pin. It may have also helped that DelDotto’s grandfather had been a Lion and understands that being a Lion is about giving back to the community, according to Redman.
“This guy is really helping us out in a big way,” he said.
Items of trade will gradually increase in value, according to Redman, with the goal of raising enough to present scholarships this spring.
Last year, the Cokato Lions built a canoe that was raffled off for scholarship money.
This year, Redman is hoping the whole community, especially the local businesses, will get involved and find an item for the Lions Trade Up.
The project officially launched today, Monday, Oct. 25. People can follow the trades online, which includes pictures of each of the trades, at www.lionstradeup.org.
The Enterprise Dispatch will also be printing the most recent trades on its Community page each week.
“This is a great opportunity to help the kids have fun trading up,” Redman said.
Any extra money raised through the trade up will be used for projects around the community, according to Redman.
Trades can be made online at www.lionstradeup.org.