The annual INSPIRE fundraiser is back.
Cloverdale’s SEMO Foundation is returning with an in-person event for 2022 after two consecutive years of virtual events.
The foundation’s annual INSPIRE fundraiser is set for Aug. 20 and will support six charities.
“We wanted to get back to an in-person event,” said Manny Kang, director of the SEMO Foundation. “We’re hoping to get some of our key supporters out and we’re hoping to introduce ourselves to some new people too.”
Kang said INSPIRE will be unique this year as they are hosting it atop Langley’s Westlund Building. It’s the first roof-top fundraiser the Foundation has ever held.
“This event is going to be pretty neat,” added Kang. “There’ll be that open-air feel, so there’ll be a summer vibe. There’s a putting green on the roof, so we’re going to have a putting contest as well.”
Kang said there will also be other summer-type games going on. He said they’ll be holding a raffle with lots of prizes, including some TVs. He said they’ll have a buffet dinner and the night will feature a ’90s music theme.
“Our goal was to have a space where people don’t feel confined to their tables,” he explained. “We want people to be able to get up and move around, allow people to mingle, to meet others, and find out more about what we do—and maybe meet some folks they haven’t met before or maybe reconnect with others.”
Kang said INSPIRE is so-named because the Foundation’s goal through the event, apart from raising funds for various charities, is to inspire people to volunteer in some capacity.
“If we can inspire one person to come forward and say, ‘Hey, it’s pretty cool what you guys are doing, I have an idea in mind, I just don’t know how to execute it.’ That’s what we stand for. It’s our message through this event.”
Kang said SEMO’s mantra is “food, clothes, and shelter.” Those are the three causes that drive the foundation and its supports, supporters they enedearly call the “SEMO Army.”
The volunteer-run foundation has hosted galas, sports tournaments, and other fundraisers over the years. They also partner with other companies and groups to help with a wide range of fundraising and charitable opportunities.
The six charities SEMO is supporting through INSPIRE this year are: Langley Food Bank, Surrey Food Bank, Surrey Christmas Bureau, Team Keian, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre, and Club Conquer.
“All the funds, all the proceeds—and then some, I like to say—go to the groups we support,” added Kang. “This year, for the first time ever, we’ll be adding Langley Food bank. We’ll divide the funds between six different groups and give them each a cheque once the dust settles.”
The SEMO Foundation was created 21 years ago when Kang’s mother, Tarsem Kaur Kang, passed away. Her nickname was “Semo” and she was passionate about fundraising and helping others. Kang said his mom educated her family about the importance of service and volunteering. As such, the SEMO Foundation’s mission was forged in the quest to help those in need.
“We do all of this in her memory,” added Kang. “This is her legacy, helping others.”