Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee delivers pots of gold to area organizations supporting children

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The Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee awarded three area organizations a total of $69,000 on Friday to support their work with children.

The Jefferson’s Foundation, Lawrence Public Library Friends & Foundation and the Watkins Museum of History each received a check for $23,000 during a ceremony on Friday afternoon.

The parade, which took place in March for the first time since being canceled because of COVID-19 in 2020, is only one of the events that traditionally take place each year to raise money in support of children’s charities. Parade committee spokesperson Janet Cinelli said that in addition to their usual fundraising goal, organizers also worked diligently this year to make sure that all events were COVID safe.

“We started this season still in the throes of the pandemic,” Cinelli said. “Of course, we worried that it could hurt our season, but we kept our focus on our mission and worked really hard hosting our fundraising events while always making sure our attendees, volunteers and donors were safe. The results speak for themselves.” 

Since its inception in 1988, the parade and surrounding events have raised almost $1.3 million to more than 60 agencies in Lawrence and Douglas County.

In addition to the parade, funds are also raised through annual events including a bowling tournament, a charity, auction, the Shamrock Shuffle 5K/10K, a billiards tournament and a pub quiz trivia night.

Susan Cross / Contributed Photo

Pam Kirkpatrick, director of The Jefferson’s Foundation, said her organization was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the St. Patrick’s Day committee to bring the parade back to Massachusetts Street after a two-year hiatus. She said the foundation would use their portion of the donations to continue offering immediate resources to families in crisis.

“Not only did the efforts and generosity of the committee create a fun-filled day on March 17th, they have created a better future for many needy children living in the community,” Kirkpatrick said.

Susan Cross / Contributed Photo

The Lawrence Public Library plans to use its share of the St. Patrick’s Day pot of gold to fund its outreach vehicle, nicknamed Dottie, which delivers books, movies, library services and events into the community.

“Thanks to the hard work of so many wonderful volunteers, Dottie will hit the road this summer powered by Lawrence love and shamrocks,” said Kathleen Morgan, director of development and community partnerships. “We are so grateful for the support of the parade committee and this wonderful town!”

Susan Cross / Contributed Photo

The Watkins Museum of History preserves Douglas County heritage and engages the community by sharing stories about people and events that have shaped our region. Executive director Steve Nowak said funding from the St. Patrick’s Day parade and associated events will be used to increase accessibility at the museum for children of all abilities.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade season and to work with so many community members dedicated to improving the lives of Douglas County children,” Nowak said. “Thank you to all who have contributed or participated in the parade season.”

Visit the St. Patrick’s Day Parade website for additional information about this year’s events and the charities they support. For more information about plans for 2023, visit the organization’s Facebook page, where information will be shared as it is announced. Charities to receive next year’s funding will be selected in August.

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