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Portland Rose Festival Helps Meet the Challenge

The Portland Rose Festival announced the results of the fund raising efforts for its first Official Charity — the Knight Cancer Challenge — during the Petals, Pearls & Superheroes Dinner and Auction (Friday, October 10, 2014). A check representing $120,000 in contributions raised during the festival was presented to cancer survivor Monique Eska, accepting on behalf of Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute.

“I am deeply grateful for the Portland Rose Festival Foundation’s support,” Dr. Brian Druker (Director of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute) said of this partnership. “We have an incredible opportunity with the Knight Cancer Challenge to ensure that Oregon continues to lead the fight against cancer.”

The Rose Festival used its popular public events to bring awareness to, encourage community support of, and directly raise funds for the Knight Cancer Challenge through avenues such as event water trampoline with slide registrations and donations — and the Festival staff didn’t mind doing some serious heavy lifting, literally processing over 900 pounds of donated pennies. Most of these initiatives cumulated on Grand Floral Parade Day on June 7.

“The goal of this involvement was to empower many individuals to get involved in the Challenge through participation in Rose Festival events,” said Marilyn Clint (Rose Festival Chief Operating Officer). “These events attract an audience of many different income levels, and we wanted to show that no donation, especially when grouped with the efforts of the community, is too small to make a huge difference.”

While the Rose Festival has always offered a platform for dozens of nonprofits to raise awareness of their organizations and benefit their missions through parades and sanctioned events, the selection of the Knight Cancer Challenge as the 2014 official charity allowed for this cause to be integrated in an unprecedented amount of ways across Rose Festival programming. The objective of this programming across the Festival was to raise awareness and funds for Knight Cancer Challenge.

This support was raised with major contributions from Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the Portland Business Alliance and Bank of the West along with the following programs and events:

Rose Festival Runners Donations (Rose Festival Runners raise funds for the Portland Rose Festival Foundation by collecting pledges for their participation in our Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon and 10K. This year, 10% of their proceeds were donated to The Knight Cancer Challenge.)

Registrations for the Bank of the West Grand Floral Walk ($2 of every registration was donated to the Challenge. Registration included the opportunity to make an additional donation. The Walk also featured over a hundred mascots from Mascots for a Cure, an organization that raises spirits and funds to fight childhood diseases, especially cancer.)

Donations to directly support the Challenge (Collected by the Rose Festival office and the online platform,

A Parade Collection during the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade (This allowed the parade audience to contribute spare change to the cause.)

The Search for Thelma (A new program and publicity stunt, encouraged the public to vote with their pennies at the Rose Festival Museum at CityFair on three candidates hoping to portray Queen Thelma, the first elected Rose Festival Queen. The Rose Festival adopted Knight Cancer Challenge as its official charity with the goal of promoting the message that no gift was too small to help the cause of ending cancer as we know it. Even pennies, especially when given by many different people in the community, can be very important to a cause. And the Rose Festival Foundation’s office was full of many, many buckets of pennies! After the winner was announced, all of the pennies were donated to the Knight Cancer Challenge with the very kind and patient support of the coin-counting staff at the downtown Wells Fargo Bank.).