Organizers of the 2006 Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games got some welcome Christmas news earlier this month when Era Aviation and Aspen Hotels of Alaska announced major financial support for the effort.
Mike Le Norman, Era's director of sales and marketing, announced Dec. 17 that the airline would contribute $100,000 in in-kind services to the games.
Then on Dec. 22, Aspen Hotels presented an initial $10,000 check to the games during a press conference at the Anchorage Aspen Hotel and announced that a portion of the proceeds from each room rented between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 1, 2006, would be donated to the games. In all, Aspen Hotels expects to contribute $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to the games, said Carol Fraser, vice president and co-owner.
Era's support will include air travel, marketing materials and joint marketing support for the winter games.
"Era Aviation is proud to offer its support for the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games," Le Norman said in a press release prepared by the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games Host Society, the entity that is organizing the games.
Le Norman added that the games would be "a great opportunity for kids of Alaska to get to know and compete with thousands of kids from six other countries. Great things will happen when you bring together thousands of young athletes and performers representing all these cultures."
Aspen's vice president expressed similar sentiments.
"Aspen Hotels of Alaska is proud to be a major contributor to the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games," Fraser said.
"The Arctic Winter Games will affect our entire state. Being able to have our entire hotel chain commit to such a great program is so important to our economy. Thousands of young athletes will be traveling to Alaska, as well as press from all over the world. It's Alaska's chance to shine."
Arctic Winter Games Host So-ciety Board President Dale Bagley said the two donations represented a major boost to the games' effort.
"Era Aviation has been providing an important link between the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the rest of Alaska and the world beyond for a number of years now, and this contribution will help bring the world to the Kenai Peninsula Borough in 2006," he said.
Bagley, who is mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, also noted Aspen Hotels' service to visitors to Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. In addition to cash, the hotel chain will donate rooms.
Bagley said the two corporate donations were "a big boost to our efforts to make the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games the best games ever."
Bill Popp, who is heading up the Host Society's public relations and fund-raising efforts, praised the corporate donators.
"These are great first steps toward achieving our overall fund-raising goals," Popp said Tuesday. "We've got a long way to go, but it is very positive to have companies like these step up and support us in this way."
Popp said the Host Society expected to announce further corporate donations soon.
The games are to be held in March 2006, and an estimated 2,000 athletes and cultural performers and 1,500 special guests from seven participating circumpolar nations are expected to attend.
According to promoters, the weeklong event will require more than 3,000 volunteers and is expected to attract between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators.
The budget for the games, including the two years of planning and development is projected at $5.3 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
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