As Board member and immediate Past-President of the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, I know firsthand the challenges the Coalition faces each year in trying to raise funds. In this new economy, with limited disposable income available, non-profits are trying harder than ever to find new ways to raise funds. The Coalition came up with a new and fun way to raise funds last year called the Derby Challenge. It is based upon the idea of the Kentucky Derby with teams competing to raise the most money with a final party on the day of the Kentucky Derby in May. Last year it turned out to be the most successful fundraising event in the history of the Coalition raising over $80,000. I am happy also to say that my team racing under the horse name of “Mister Marty” came in first place raising almost $26,000. As a result of that win, we were presented a trophy which proudly sits in my lobby. However, the competition is high this year to wrestle the trophy away from us so I am asking for your help to defend the trophy. If you would like to be part of my team, please visit the Coalition website at and scroll down on the first page for the announcement for the “Annual Derby Campaign” and click on more info. That will take you to the Derby page where you can register for a team (again, I am horse #6 – Mister Marty) as well as find out about the other events being held by other teams. The whole idea behind this is just to have a lot of fun and not work too hard on raising fund for the Coalition so that it may continue its mission to prevent hunger and homelessness in Charlotte County. Please support any of the events that you may be able to attend.