The basketball community of Australia has rallied behind the victims of the Victorian bushfires, launching a raft of fundraising efforts at every level of the sport to benefit the victims of the countryâ€™s worst-ever natural disaster.
Basketball Australia (BA) has agreed to donate $10,000 to the Basketball Fire Relief Fund recently established by Basketball Victoria that will go directly towards helping the bushfire victims and their ravaged communities. BA will also donate a significant amount of signed Boomers and Opals merchandise to be auctioned at fundraisers for the bushfire victims.
BA has also asked all National Basketball League and Women’s National Basketball League teams to wear black armbands and hold a moment of silence prior to all games in the upcoming round as a sign of respect for the lives lost in the tragedy.
“The bushfires that have ravaged Victoria have been devastating for so many communities, so Basketball Australia is determined to do what we can to assist those that have lost homes and loved ones,” said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Scott Derwin. “We are also encouraging all the many hundreds of thousands of members of the basketball family in Australia to step up in this time of need and do whatever they can to help. We have been delighted by the response from our teams and associations thus far but there is so much more that needs to be done.”
Across the basketball family, teams and associations have quickly banded together to provide support for the bushfire victims.
The NBL’s Sydney Spirit players and coaching staff have volunteered to forgo their match payments for their final home game against the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday night, instead donating all gate proceeds to the bushfire relief fund. The Spirit will also be auctioning a singlet signed by Boomers and NBA star Andrew Bogut at halftime of the game, with the money raised going directly to help the victims.
The Melbourne Tigers hosted a fundraising appeal for the Victorian Bushfires at their game on Wednesday night against the Townsville Crocodiles. The Tigers are donating all funds raised from their game night raffle to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, and made donation tins available for patrons to contribute on the night.
The Perth Wildcats have announced that it will support the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund with a club donation as well as a collection at their next home game on Saturday 14 February 2009 against the Melbourne Tigers. The club called on fans attending the game to support the appeal and hopes to raise $10,000 towards one of the country’s worst tragedies. All other NBL teams are also collecting donations that will go to help the victims.
The clubs of the “Australian Defence Force” Women’s National Basketball League are also undertaking extensive fundraising efforts with teams collecting donations at upcoming games.
ADF WNBL clubs will accept bucket donations at the door of all remaining home games or hold halftime fundraising activities.
The Bendigo Spirit have a close affinity for those who lost homes in the fires, with the inferno coming within 40 metres of their homecourt before a wind change averted the flames at the last moment.
Even the AIS WNBL side, who have finished their home game commitments for the season, are looking to help with the team collecting goods to help displaced victims of the disaster.
At the local level, Dandenong Basketball Association will be accepting donations of clothing, toiletries, food and other items for distribution via the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. Clothing bins will be set up at the Dandenong Stadium from Tuesday 10th February 2009.
The Whittlesea City Basketball Association and a host of other local clubs and associations will also be holding fundraising efforts during domestic competitions.
To ease the pressure on the major charity agencies, Basketball Victoria, VJBL, Big V and SEABL have also come together to coordinate the Basketball Fire Relief Fund.
They are asking all their 100-plus associations to assist in fundraising at stadiums and competitions in the coming weeks. Promotional Tools Kits have been sent to all associations to assist them with donations, with all monies raised going directly to The Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
Basketball Victoria got the ball rolling by contributing $5,000 to the relief fund on behalf of the basketball family. A phone number has been set up by Basketball Victoria to handle donations with various payment options available. Full details of how to donate to the Basketball Fire Relief Fund are below.
How to donate
(03) 9927 6605
For Bankcard, MasterCard and Visa Donations
Please state reference â€œFire Reliefâ€ when transferring
A/C Name: Basketball Victoria Inc
BSB No: 013 435
Account No: 3189 27869
Cheques payable to Basketball Victoria, please have a note accompanying cheque “For Fire Relief Fund”
Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre
Box 3, Augthie Drive
Albert Park VIC 3206
For more information visit www.basketballvictoria.com.au