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The donors: Keith Baldrey and Les Leyne

The gift: Helping raise $820,000 and climbing

The cause: Various charities in British Columbia

Several years ago, journalists Keith Baldrey and Les Leyne were golfing in Victoria with a deputy minister in the provincial government when the civil servant issued them a challenge.

“He told us, ‘Why don’t you guys use your media celebrity to raise money for young people,'” recalled Mr. Baldrey, who works for Global TV in Victoria. They headed to a local pub to talk about the idea and while they were thrashing it around, David Hahn, the head of BC Ferries at the time, came by and agreed to get involved. That led to the creation of the BC Ferries Media Charity Golf Classic at Bear Mountain Resort, which is now in its 15th year.

The tournament is held every June and it has raised more than $820,000 in total so far for several local charities. Each year Mr. Baldrey, Mr. Leyne and others select a charity that will benefit from the proceeds and the latest recipients have been Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria Capital Region. Other recipients have included KidSport, which helps children participate in sports, and Community Living Victoria, which supports people with intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Baldrey said they have tried to keep the tournament to around 120 golfers and they’ve maintained a core group of companies that sponsor each hole. “It’s been quite amazing to think it started from a little chat on a golf course,” he added.

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