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Marketing consultant Ira Grossman says this year’s Auction of Wishes will sell about 400 items, worth about $200,000 in total.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

The donor: Ira Grossman

The gift: Raising $800,000 and climbing

The cause: Children's Wish Foundation of Canada

When Ira Grossman was taking a sports and event marketing course at Toronto's George Brown College in 1995, he was given a class assignment to come up with a fundraising event. He organized a charity hockey draft and auction, which managed to raise about $3,000.

"After that, my classmates encouraged me to keep it going and the next year I did it on my own," recalled Mr. Grossman, a marketing consultant who lives in Toronto. He has kept it up ever since, transforming the annual event into an online auction and designating proceeds to the Children's Wish Foundation.

So far, Mr. Grossman's Auction for Wishes has raised just over $800,000 in total and pulled in $45,000 last year.

The bidding for this year's event, the 20th, began last month and runs until the end of June. About 400 items, worth about $200,000 in total, are up for sale, including stays at luxury hotels around the world, autographed hockey jerseys and tickets to U.S. television shows, sporting events and film festivals.

Mr. Grossman hopes to reach the $1-million mark but he won't stop then. He has already got his 11-year-old son involved.

"I'm hoping to be able to pass this on to my son and he can carry it on for another 20 years," he said.