Fun with fundraising: Wizards game raises over $24,000

The Harlem Wizards have once again worked their fundraising magic for local schools.

The team, known for its trick shots and comedy-filled gameplay, faced off against a team of Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. teachers and administrators on March 5 at Columbus North High School. The annual event is a major fundraiser for the district’s foundation.

According to Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation Director Nicole Cunningham, the foundation made more than $24,000, including $13,108 from ticket and souvenir sales, and $11,000 from local sponsorships. Both figures reflect proceeds after fees and expenses. As of Monday, the foundation did not have a final figure for the total amount raised, as profits from concessions were still being calculated.

“It was a really successful day,” said Cunningham. “People were excited, the weather was beautiful, and honestly, I just, looking around that gym, there was such, such a presence of people. And just like last year, everything was really joyful, and the crowd was certainly excited to be entertained.”

She estimated that they sold about 1,700 tickets and had well over 2,000 people in attendance. This included attendees, volunteers, team members, referees, scorekeepers and other individuals involved with the event.

The funds raised through the Harlem Wizards game are unrestricted, which allows the foundation to use the dollars wherever needs arise, Cunningham said in a previous interview. Almost all of the proceeds will go to teachers and staff grants, which are administered through the foundation’s Lightning Grants program and its partnership with Donors Choose.

The Harlem Wizards describe themselves as a “show basketball entity delivering wildly successful fundraiser events for schools and nonprofits.”

“They’re not just a basketball team,” said Cunningham. “They’re bringing comedy, they’re bringing tricks, and they’re bringing a really good message too, like they kind of, as they are interacting with the crowd, they do talk about being personally responsible and being kind. So they really pushed that message, and we appreciate that. And honestly, the game went out without a hitch. It was wonderful. And now we just have to kind of chat with them and see when they can come back.”