City of Edmonton's DONATE-A-RIDE raises more than $225,000

News Release from the City of Edmonton
April 29, 2016

Despite economic circumstances, Edmontonians generously paid it forward through the 2015/2016 DONATE-A-RIDE campaign which raised $225,816.

As a result of the funds raised through the campaign, 94,565 Edmonton Transit System tickets will be distributed to 71 agencies. The agencies will work directly with vulnerable youth and adults in Edmonton..

This is the second-strongest DONATE-A-RIDE campaign on record since the initiative started in 1996. This year marks the 20th annual DONATE-A-RIDE.

Last year’s record-breaking campaign raised $242,685, resulting in over 101,000 ETS tickets being distributed to those who need it most.

The charity provides ETS tickets to Edmontonians in need who rely on public transit to attend doctor appointments, job interviews, or access child care. As the City of Edmonton’s only registered charity, DONATE-A-RIDE has now distributed 1,297,837 tickets valued at nearly $2.6 million.

Global News Story on the December 14, 2015 Donate A Ride kick off.

To read the full story from Slav Kornik of Global news please visit here;

December 14, 2015 - An annual campaign that provides free public transit tickets to Edmonton residents in need has launched for a 20th consecutive year.

The Donate-A-Ride campaign started Monday and will run until March 31. It distributes ETS transit tickets to community agencies which then pass them to low-income residents and Edmonton families in need.

The agencies include Boyle Street Community Services, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters, Edmonton’s Food Bank, YESS, Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton, and iHuman Youth Society.

The city says transit access can improve quality of life by providing transportation to employment, education and social services.

“Imagine the difference we could make if everyone donated just one transit ticket,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

Donate-A-Ride has grown tremendously since its inaugural year. In 1996, 1,840 transit tickets were distributed by five agencies. Last year, 101,136 tickets were handed out by 73 agencies.

“It’s about dignity too. It’s about people who need a step up, who need a hand up, so this program helps them to do that,” Councillor Dave Loken said.

Donations can be made online or in person by asking a bus driver for an envelope to drop in the fare box.

The Edmonton International Airport is the campaign’s new corporate gold sponsor and it’s already donated $5,000.

630 Ched's Scott Johnson's article on Donate A Ride.

Donate-a-ride, the first city council initiated charity is entering it’s 20th year of raising money to provide free transit to clients of 73 social agencies. It’s hoping to establish a new record of over 101,136 transit tickets to help low income individuals get to essential appointments, through ETS.

“Donate-a-ride’s goal is to make public transit available to everyone, so no one has to make incredibly hard sacrifices to get around this city,” Coun. Dave Loken, the co-chair of the charity said at the launch Monday morning at City Hall. “Our message to individual Edmontonians and businesses is to think of Donate-a-ride this holiday season. Donating just the cost of a cup of coffee can get some one where they need to be and change their life forever.”

The program has come a long way since it’s modest beginning in 1996, when the founder, former Alderman Alan Bolstad got the idea, after trying to help his life back in order.

“He showed up again at our overnight shelter a few nights later and I asked him how it went, and he said he didn’t go,” Bolstad recounted the story. “I said what to you mean you didn’t go? We had it all lined up, and he said he didn’t have anyway of getting there, he didn’t have any money for the bus. And I said ‘the bus stopped you from getting there?’ after we had things all lined up, wow, how crazy is that?”

That first year 1,840 transit tickets, valued at $2,764 were raised. “I look at the list now of 73 agencies and I know that’s going to a lot of people who can just use a little bit of a break, in many cases on a temporary basis,” Bolstad said.

“The importance of a bus ticket is sometimes the beginning of some dignity that many of our kids won’t find anywhere else, so it helps them be in a position that they’re not panhandling,” said Karen Good of the Youth Empowerment and Support Services, or YESS.

The 2016 campaign comes with a new web page, new logo, and a relaunch trying to get the donations dramatically increased. Coun. Bryan Anderson has brought several schools into the fold.

“What would happen if everybody in our city gave one bus ticket?” he said. “We’d have 800,000 bus tickets to distribute to people who are having personal crises. One. I suggested that to several principals of elementary schools. You’ve got 800 families in your school, if you want to do some kind of a fund raiser challenge the families to come up with one ticket.”

The campaign runs until the end of March.

(sj) To read the full article on 630 Ched's website please visit this link;

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