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Ottawa Sports Pages marks 10 years, kicks off groundbreaking fundraising campaign with Ottawa Community Foundation

–Ottawa Sports Pages news release

The Ottawa Sports Pages celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an Oct. 16 event at Rideau Sports Centre, and announced an innovative fundraising initiative that will help the grassroots media group continue to shine a light on local sport for another 10 years and beyond.

Launched in partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF), donations made to the new Ottawa Sports Pages Fund via OttawaSportsPages.ca/Donate will be matched by OCF up to $5,000, and contributors will receive a charitable tax receipt.

“The Ottawa Community Foundation is excited to partner with Ottawa Sports Pages as part of the Journalism Endowment Matching Program,” OCF President and CEO Marco Pagani said of this first-in-Canada pilot initiative. “At its core, this new program is about organizations working to leverage their resources, relationships, and ideas to seed a long-term endowment fund and bring to life important work related to independent journalism in our rapidly shifting world.”

Since Fall 2011, the Ottawa Sports Pages has provided a voice for local high school, university, community and elite amateur sport – the levels continually neglected by traditional media.

The Sports Pages has published over 6,000 stories in the past decade through 96 print newspaper editions, its website (which now features daily reporting from 48-year local sports reporting veteran Martin Cleary), and its young Saturday Sports Pages email newsletter.

“This is obviously a huge milestone for our non-profit organization that is fuelled by a passionate group of supporters we’ll never be able to thank enough,” underlined Ottawa Sports Pages Executive Director Dan Plouffe. “We are especially grateful to have this amazing OCF program available since we are indeed going to need the community’s support more than ever in our next chapters.”

COVID-19 further illuminated the need for diverse media voices in an industry that was already in crisis in Canada. Locally, the Sports Pages‘ partner sports groups have been hit very hard (with many still unable to access spaces to run their programs), thus hurting revenues as well.

“If you enjoy reading our coverage, if you believe in what we do, and are able to donate, we’d love to have you contribute $10/month,” added Plouffe, noting one-time contributions and other donation methods are also possible. “That would go a long way towards helping us in our mission and to ensure the Ottawa Sports Pages‘ ongoing sustainability.”

Core to that mission is providing coverage for groups underrepresented in traditional publications. A Sports Pages analysis showed that over 98% of sports news produced by local mainstream media was on professional sports.

Female athletes can be found on roughly two-thirds of Sports Pages newspaper covers, youth under 18 are featured more than one-third of the time, and parasport, racialized and LGBTQ+ athletes own a fair share as well.

The Sports Pages also works alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation – which supported the new Fund’s creation – to provide free opportunities to children/youth from low-income neighbourhoods in partner sports groups’ programming.

These values helped inspire a $1,000 donation to kickstart the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund campaign, which was announced at the celebration event.

“Sports involvement can have such a positive impact on our community,” wrote the donor who did not wish to be identified publicly. “The Ottawa Sports Pages’ commitment to getting the stories of amateur athletes told has always been striking.

“Taking the time to get to know the ins and outs of a deep variety of sports and people are in the paper’s DNA, leading to excellent coverage of sports and inspirational people in our community which receive little to no coverage elsewhere.

“We encourage you to join us in supporting the Ottawa Sports Pages with a donation now to help them continue the good work of supporting healthy sporting endeavours in Ottawa.”

Speakers at the 10th anniversary event included Ottawa Sport Council Chair David Gourlay, Ottawa-Vanier Member of Parliament Mona Fortier, and local Paralympians Patrice Dagenais and Brianna Hennessy, who shared deeply personal stories of the accidents that changed their lives, the parasports that gave them new life, and their journeys to representing Canada at the Games.

(From left) Tokyo 2020 Paralympic paddler Brianna Hennessy, Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier and 3-time Paralympic wheelchair rugby player Patrice Dagenais on Saturday, Oct. 16 at Rideau Sports Centre. Photo: Ethan Diamandas

A replay of the event livestream can be viewed on the Ottawa Sports Pages‘ 10th Anniversary Headquarters webpage. Through to the end of 2021, the Sports Pages will unveil a series of top-10 lists to look back on local sports highlights and stories from the past 10 years. A new post will be published daily on the Sports Pages‘ social media channels and website at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

About the Ottawa Sports Pages:

The Ottawa Sports Pages is published by an incorporated not-for-profit organization called the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team. OCSMT produces a local amateur sports newspaper called the Ottawa Sports Pages, a website at OttawaSportsPages.ca, and the Saturday Sports Pages e-mail newsletter.

The Sports Pages focuses its coverage on high school, university, community and elite amateur sport – the levels that are almost always overlooked by the mainstream media but have so many special stories to share.

OCSMT also works alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program on the Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project. The CAMPS Project provides free sports opportunities to children/youth from low-income families via OCSMT’s partner sports groups.

Find out more at OttawaSportsPages.ca & OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca

About the Ottawa Community Foundation:

The Ottawa Community Foundation is one of Ottawa’s most highly regarded philanthropic organizations, working with donors and the community at large to bring about positive, systemic and sustainable change in our city and beyond.

The Foundation’s vision is to help Ottawa fulfill its potential as a healthy, inclusive, environmentally balanced, culturally and economically vibrant city.

The Foundation has built an enviable reputation for astute financial management, high quality donor services, strategic grant making and innovative partnerships across the city.

Find out more at OCF-FCO.ca

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