Rotaractor Natalia Brown gets ready to start the Highland Yard race in Minden on Sunday, Aug. 7. /Photo by Brad Brown

Rotaract Haliburton Highlands fundraises to fill gaps in community

By Christine Carr

Rotaract Haliburton Highlands has been off to the races this summer fundraising for local initiatives across the county. With the recent success of the Highland Yard Race as well as a partnership with Nick Russell and Benton Brown at their music night at Hook, Line, and Sinker, all of the proceeds the group raises from their fundraising efforts help to fill in gaps in needs in the local community. 

Highland Yard Race

The 50th in-person Highland Yard Race was held on Sunday, Aug. 6, in Minden. As Rotaract’s first year organizing the long-running race, it was a year of firsts for the organizing committee. The proceeds from the race support the organization Places for People, which provides low-income housing and support for the region. Rotaract’s inaugural year raised over $22,000 and the organizing committee felt positive about their first year running the longstanding event. 

“I think it went really well. It helped having such a helpful group from past committees to guide us along the way and give us suggestions and more guidance, and we are all looking forward to seeing how we can make it evolve. We are in a really good place from where the last organizers left it, but we are interested to see what things we can add to it to make it an even bigger and better event,” said organizing committee member Natalia Brown. 

With 183 racers for 2023, the Highland Yard Race helps support an integral cause in the community as a lack of affordable housing remains an important concern throughout the Highlands. 

“It is a cause close to our hearts as Rotaract members, because it is a cause that is largely impacting people our age. There is a housing crisis, there is a lack of affordable housing, it is hard to get into the housing market. Across the board it is a hot button issue in this community, and there are people who are literally sleeping in cars or who can’t afford or find housing. It is a really invisible issue here, and Places for People does a great job about trying to raise awareness about such an important cause,” said Ashley McAllister, race director and Rotaract member. 

Rotaract Haliburton Highlands looks forward to continuing the tradition in the years to come and seeing the Race continue to grow and develop within the community, allowing more opportunities to support the work of Places for People in the community. 

Music Night at Hook, Line, and Sinker

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Rotaract joined forces with Nick Russell, Benton Brown, and the restaurant Hook, Line, and Sinker at their recent music night. With Hook, Link, and Sinker staff accepting donations all day long, the partnership allowed Rotaract to not only raise $240 but to spread awareness about the work they perform in the local community. 

Rotaract Haliburton Highlands has a number of initiatives offered throughout the year that allow them to work to fill in gaps in need in the community. One of the longest running initiatives is their Helping Hampers program, where they provide baskets of essential goods such as food, housing supplies, and school supplies tailored to the unique needs of each family. 

“Any funds raised go directly toward purchasing necessary items like food, baby formula or diapers, toiletries, school supplies for kids, and more. At a time when the cost of living is so high, we hope to provide some relief to as many families or individuals as possible,” said Vivian Collings, president of Rotaract Haliburton Highlands. 

Rotaract Haliburton Highlands looks forward to returning the proceeds back to the community through their local initiatives, and the organization of young adults 18+ are always looking for more ways to get involved in the Highlands. To learn more about their work, to inquire about joining the organization, or to find out how to donate, email