A local nonprofit organization’s fundraiser will allow residents to rappel down the 11-story Shawnee Place Apartments building later this year.
Think Tank Inc., whose mission is to fight social problems and poverty, is holding its Over The Edge fundraiser on Sept. 6. Community leaders and residents are currently raising money for the event, which will allow participants to rappel 106 feet to the ground.
The goal is to feature the downtown on a First Friday and also raise money for Think Tank’s projects such as its Circles program and the Promise Neighborhood.
“We’re trying to promote what we’re doing around building a community,” Think Tank Chief Executive Officer Karin VanZant said.
The group hopes to have 80 to 90 participants as part of the fundraiser. VanZant said other larger communities have held similar fundraisers, and she decided to bring it to Springfield.
“We’ve gotten great interest already,” VanZant said.
Community leaders, including the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Amy Donahoe, will participate in the event.
Donahoe said she was attracted to the event both by what Think Tank is doing in the community and because it’s something different happening in Springfield.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Donahoe said. “When else are you going to have a chance to rappel off a building in downtown Springfield?”
VanZant will be participating in the event, despite a lifelong fear of heights.
“I’m going to ramp myself up to take that first step,” VanZant said. “If I’m going to bring an event like this to Springfield, then I better be willing to follow through with it myself.”
The registration fee is $50. For participants to go over the edge, they must raise $1,000. They’ll be provided a website to help raise money on social media.
“We give guidance to help them reach their $1,000 goal,” VanZant said.
Donahoe has already raised $600 for the fundraiser. She’s received lots of support from people on her website and other social media sites.
“It’s very touching,” Donahoe said. “Those have meant a lot to me.”
VanZant said the recently renovated Shawnee Place building was quick to partner with the event.
“They felt like it would be a great opportunity to not only to help us, but promote the programs they run there and bring people downtown at the same time,” VanZant said.
Over The Edge events are set up like industrial work sites and comply with federal and state safety regulations.
“The excitement of stepping off the edge of the building is something people will be drawn to,” VanZant said. “It’s completely 100 percent safe.”
According to its website, Over The Edge has raised millions of dollars for non-profits across the United States. It has partnered with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
The event is sponsored by the CareSource Foundation. For more information go to thinktank-inc.org.