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Nonprofits look to future after Duck Race suspended

The Duck Race, which celebrated its 30th year in 2018, raised money to help keep children in Lane County safe.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 3:47 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 6:41 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- After officials with the Great Rotary Duck Race announced they were suspending operations, local nonprofits say they’ll be stepping up fundraising in other ways.

The Duck Race, which celebrated its 30th year in 2018, raised money to help keep children in Lane County safe.

RELATED: ROTARY CLUBS SUSPEND 2019 DUCK RACE; FUTURE UNCERTAIN

Leaders of local nonprofits said they had to submit a grant application to be part of the fundraiser, and it was a very competitive process.

Lynne Mender is the executive director at Parenting Now, a nonprofit that provides education and support to parents. Mender said the money they received from the Duck Race went to help fund their Make Parenting A Pleasure program, which helps teen parents and others.

"We'll certainly be needing to go to other foundations to see whether or not we can support the program those ways, but it is a loss for the agency," Mender said. "They've really moved the needle for families in this community, and we can't thank them enough. They've been wonderful."

MORE: ANNUAL GREAT ROTARY DUCK RACE KICKS OFF 30TH YEAR

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) also received funding from the Duck Race over the years. They represent children going through the Child Welfare process in the court system. Executive Director Heather Murphy said the money went to their general fund and the fundraiser gave them the ability to connect with other nonprofits who are dedicated to preventing child abuse.

"I have never known another community fundraiser to specifically support child abuse prevention to the degree the Duck Race did," Murphy said. "It's a Herculean task to lead the Duck Race, and I understand that it's a full-time-plus job for momma or pappa duck, so we respect the decision. It's a huge amount of work."

Patricia Hasbach, the board president for the Center for Community Counseling, said they were awarded $40,000 last year. She said they are now are reaching out to other foundations and don't believe they need to cut back any services.

Officials at all three nonprofits said just because the Duck Race’s future is uncertain, it doesn't mean they're going away. They are thanking the organizers of the Duck Race for all their years of support and hope to work with them in the future.

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