The North American Indigenous Games got a quarter million dollar boost Thursday thanks to a generous donation from the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.
It is the largest corporate donation to date and organizers are hoping it will encourage other sponsors to come on board.
Just five months away, the games are a big event requiring thousands of volunteers and millions of dollars to stage.
They are expected to inject $32 million into the local economy and bring young athletes and teams from 26 regions in North America to Regina, where they will compete in 15 different sports.
The president of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Zane Hansen, says being a major sponsor is perfect fit for SIGA.
“And this is one that is really near and dear to us,” he says. “You know as a First Nations company, we put a high priority on giving back and when we can give back to events that really invest in our youth and help develop them it’s a fantastic cause.”
The budget to host the games is $10.5 million which is small compared to similar events.
Government funding will provide seven million dollars with the rest coming from fundraising and sponsorships.
Games president Glen Pratt hopes the $250,000 SIGA donation will encourage others to come forward.
“We almost have no resource sector on board and I think that is a bit of a black eye on Saskatchewan that we are struggling to put on these games sponsorship wise,” he says.
Organizers hope to raise two million dollars in corporate sponsorships.
With today’s donation from SIGA, they are almost half way there.
A total of 3,500 volunteers are also needed to host the games but so far less than1,000 have signed up.
The theme of this year’s games is “Raising the bar.”
The North American Indigenous Games will be held in Regina July 20-27.