SCRABBLE WITH THE STARS (Toronto) THANKS SPONSORS WITH SPARKLING STARS!

Celebrity participants of SCRABBLE® WITH THE STARS, one of the year’s most anticipated showbiz events, are set to start laying down tiles the evening of Monday May 5th at the Arcadian Loft in downtown Toronto.   Benefiting the Performing Arts Lodge, (PAL) Toronto, which provides affordable housing to members of our entertainment industry, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary for this important fundraiser. Hosts COLIN MOCHRIE and DEB McGRATH (pictured below) will again be at the helm to ensure the evening is both a financial success and a fun-filled soiree for the stars, sponsors, media and PAL residents!

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Today, Tuesday April 29, several sponsors joined Colin and Deb, and SWTS Chair KATE BARRIS, Founder VIVIENNE MUHLING and other committee members to add the sparkly sponsor stars to the Thank-You sponsors’ board located in the lobby of PAL. Featured in photos below with Kate (in green), Deb & Colin are sponsor reps: VINCE COMMISSO, President of 9 Story Entertainment (2013/14 Celebrity Sponsor)

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The new sheriff in town (below) is ALAN HOLLINGSWORTH, VP & Partner of HUB International (2013 Celebrity Sponsor)

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Below are BOB UNDERWOOD, President &  CEO of ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society (left) and RON ZAMMIT (ctr) CFO of  ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society (2013 & 2014 Production Sponsors)

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Colin & Deb are real troopers, hamming it up with the PAL photographer, Norm, and myself…. and even playing a quick round of Scrabble just to get in the mood.

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There are still a few individual tickets available for anyone in Toronto who fancies themselves a keen Scrabbler, and there are lots of cool prizes to be won as well as raising funds for PAL.  For more details & to purchase tickets, please Email: info@scrabblewiththestars.ca or visit www.scrabblewiththestars.ca

Monday, May 5th from 6:00pm to 10pm at the Arcadian Loft, (Simpson Tower) Toronto 
Individual Tickets: $175 – Includes dinner & prizes galore …everyone is a winner!

Founded ten years ago by PAL resident VIVIENNE MUHLING, I had the pleasure of chatting with her, asking how Scrabble With the Stars started and how it supports the work done at PAL. I’d like to share that “interview” with you here:

What first inspired you to create Scrabble With the StarsI was brainstorming with our then-President, Nigel Napier-Andrews, about raising funds and awareness for PAL and we discovered Centennial College had a non-celebrity Scrabble-based fundraiser for a children’s charity. I myself am deeply into Scrabble, in fact, I’m a life member of the North American Scrabble Association and play in tournaments around the world.  At 75, I was still working both as a publicist and producer and had celebrity friends to whom I could approach — and it was worth trying!

10 years ago, who were your first celebrity players? David Warrack., Margaret Atwood, Sharon Lois & Bram, Dave Broadfoot, Don Harron, RH Thomson, Michael Burgess, Colin Fox, Paul Soles, Gordon Pinsent, etc

Why is it important to support the event? It’s The Performing Arts Lodges, Toronto,  only annual fundraising event and helps PAL to fulfill its mandate of “caring for our own” – these being all manner of aging and needful performing arts professionals.

How do the funds raised help PAL? In earlier years, the funds raised helped PAL hire and pay a professional Health Care worker who works in our “Supporting Cast ” department and helps needful seniors find the services they need, and helps our volunteers to also help those who need trips to doctors, etc.  For the last few years, we’ve been focused on raising funds essential to build or renovate a nearby building where PAL’s aging and ailing residents can receive extended care without having to move away from the friends who share their common interests and life’s work.

How have your sponsors helped drive Scrabble With the Stars to success?  Centennial College brought a Scotiabank executive as their table guest in our 2nd year. This executive was so enamoured by being able to rub shoulders with celebrities she admired that she was happy to bring the bank on board in year three. Their support has grown every year – they supply volunteers on the night, and the executive is always there to offer advice when we ask her for assistance. ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society has been a sponsor from day 1 and has been very helpful in leading us to other major sponsors.

Anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge? There are so many…Jayne Eastwood, who told me that she and Gordon Pinsent painted and suggested we hold a celebrity art silent auction along with the Scrabble which has proven to be very successful. Marilyn Lightstone, who donates her art work and helps us reach interested journalists in the Zoomer media family; PAL Vice President Dan Lyon who vets sponsor prospect lists for us; my Toronto Scrabble Club pal Heather McCall who has been a hardworking committee member since day 1; John Chew, the celebrated international Scrabble Tournament Director who donates his skills to Scrabble With the Stars each year – I could go on……

Are you already planning next year’s event? We always have a wrap up committee get-together soon after each year’s event where we exchange notes of what went well, what needs improving or a new approach, and we will consider those notes at our first meeting for SWTS 2015 in early September this year.

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