On Saturday, April 27, 2024, the Goldring Centre at the University of Toronto became a hub of community and competitive spirit as it hosted the second annual Ballin' Out for Charity event. The tournament, organized by BLACKLINE and RAD Marketing, brought together 20 teams and fan supporters from the construction, brokerage, and development sectors, raising an impressive $111,000 for the MLSE Foundation's Change the Game campaign. This initiative has invested over $67 million in the past decade to break down barriers to sports participation for Ontario’s youth.

RAD Marketing and BLACKLINE present a cheque to MLSE Foundation for the money raised, image courtesy of BLACKLINE

Brett Fyfer, Campaign Director at MLSE Foundation, praised the partnership, noting the organization "is proud to partner with Ballin’ Out for Charity and see their support go toward our Change the Game Campaign. MLSE Foundation remains committed to removing the barriers that limit accessible sport participation for young people so that they reach their full potential. Our work has shown us that it's not a lack of potential holding back young people in Ontario, but a lack of opportunity."

From early morning until late afternoon, the Goldring Centre at 100 Devonshire Place was a flurry of activity as 20 teams competed in 3-on-3 basketball games. The event was replete with food stalls, live DJ performances, audience participation activities, and special performances by the Raptors' North Side Crew. Highlights included a half-court shot contest, a raffle for a trip to Mexico, and various fun stations like caricature drawing and t-shirt graffiti.

The Raptors North Side Crew with event organizers from RAD Marketing and BLACKLINE, from left to right: Justin Ackerman, Sarah Nakamura, Sean Zahedi, Natasha Alibhai, Tim Ng, image courtesy of BLACKLINE

The event caters to players of all skill levels and ages. Each team played three games, both 20 minutes in length, with the top eight teams moving on to a championship playoff. During the midday break, local youth teams took the stage to play full-court games, offering them a spotlight moment to shine in front of an enthusiastic crowd. A total of 37 games were played throughout the tournament, presented by SKYGRiD. In the final, Topcrete Forming clinched the championship title against ReMax Millenium. Off the court, participants enjoyed complimentary wellness services, including massage and stretching sessions provided by MetaTherapy.

This year's $111,000 in fundraising pledges significantly surpassed last year's $70,000, collected for the Daily Bread Food Bank. The funds this year will support various initiatives under the MLSE Foundation, particularly benefiting underprivileged children in the Greater Toronto Area.

“What started as a pick-up game with some industry peers grew into the idea of using basketball as a conduit to promote teamwork, sportsmanship, and philanthropy within our industry to create a positive impact in the communities we work in," said Tim Ng, Principal at BLACKLINE.

ReMax Millenium Realty vs Topcrete Forming in the Ballin' Out For Charity final, image courtesy of BLACKLINE

The event has been made possible through the collaboration and sponsorship of numerous industry leaders. Prominent sponsors included Mattamy Homes, Slate Asset Management, EllisDon Developments, and Great Gulf, among others, demonstrating the industry's commitment to giving back and building stronger communities.

Sean Zahedi, Executive Vice President at RAD Marketing, noted that this is a "tight-knit industry that truly cares about the communities we are building. This is just the beginning and we foresee this annual tournament to continue to grow within the industry and through our social impact.”

As the event wrapped up, organizers were already looking forward to next year. Those interested in joining the cause can visit the official website and stay tuned to mark their calendars and submit their pledges for next year. 

The impact of Ballin' Out for Charity continues beyond the event. Contributions to the MLSE Foundation can still be made, supporting ongoing efforts to change the game for youth in Ontario. To extend your support and make a lasting difference, please visit the MLSE Foundation’s donation page.

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