The Porcelain Prison Project: A fundraiser like no other

Any successful event takes a team that goes above and beyond to ensure every detail is perfect, and while Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel consistently hosts the most innovative and outstanding events, nonprofits inspire us to dig even deeper. While large organizations may be able to afford an executive team, a fundraising gala in the ballroom, and top of the line production, the team at Renaissance work to be flexible with nonprofits so we can ensure we pitch in to make the event a success. We understand that not all events require a gala or three course dinner, and that some just need a little creativity and volunteer time.

The Porcelain Prison Project was brought to Renaissance through the Gateway Rotary Club of Edmonton. The chapter has supported the construction and operation of a school in Mozambique since 2005. The school grew from 300 students to over 2000 in just over a decade without any updates in plumbing to host the growing crowd. In order to create a safe and clean environment, the Rotary Club planned to raise an additional $60,000 to build a block of 10 modern toilets to replace the basic system located further from the school. While they had raised almost half the funds they needed an event to really push the donations. In Fall 2017 the chapter hosted their Robust Reds Fundraiser at the Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel so it was a logical first step to help fundraise for the toilets. It was then the idea for the Porcelain Prison Project really came together… have Edmonton dignitaries jailed to toilets displayed in the Arcade in the hotel Lobby until they raise the remaining $35,000 needed to finish the block of toilets for the students.

Set for March 9th, the event was left largely in the hands of the Renaissance team as it took place in the most public area of the hotel. The Arcade was recently used to host a month long national level photography exhibition, InFocus, after the exhibition’s old gallery was closed down. HALO Bar within Renaissance was able to come through as a food and production sponsor while the hotel sponsored the space. The team saw the Arcade as a great space to connect to organizations in the city or host events that need exposure without denting the nonprofit’s budget.

The Porcelain Prison Project was a fun one for the Renaissance team to come together on as every department was needed to successfully pull off the potty party. When left in the hands of Renaissance, it was bound to be no ordinary fundraiser. The sales department worked on a partnership with Best Plumbing to lend 10 toilets that would be set in front of the HALO Bistro and Starbucks. HALO not only hosted the afternoon party, but supplied the DJ and created custom cocktails that matched the toilet theme. Plus they were able to bring Alley Kat Brewing as a sponsor to ensure every jailed sitter was filled with local beer. The rooms division brought on Escape Wellness to provide quick chair massages to sitters and supporters alike, and Chef Andrew’s banqueting and events crew kept everyone fed and organized through the hours. A lot of the planning, promoting, set up and take down was done by Renaissance staff volunteering their time.

The event successfully raised the $35,000 needed to complete the block of toilets in Mozambique that will support over 2000 students.

While nontraditional events like these are not always easy to oversee, the Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel understands the influence a venue sponsorship can have on the success of an event and will always support local organizations like Gateway Rotary achieve their goals. Our events team is made up of seasoned professionals who can adapt to the needs of nonprofits on tight budgets and strict deadlines, and the rest of the hotel is right behind them to lend a hand in any way.

Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel supports many humanitarian, cultural, and educational nonprofits in Edmonton every month through sponsorships and donations of varying sizes, and we are proud of each and every contribution!

Tamanna Khurana