When Will Arnett was in the market for Jets tickets, his first call wasn’t to the box office; it was to United Way of Winnipeg.
“Will wanted to donate two Jets season tickets to United Way so youth who might not otherwise have the chance, could experience the thrill and excitement of an NHL game,” says Rob McGee, United Way of Winnipeg’s board of trustees marketing chair.
Arnett grew up watching the Leafs, but Winnipeg holds a special place in his heart. His grandfather, William Palk, was United Way of Winnipeg’s first ever campaign chair.
“My grandfather was very special to me,” says Arnett. “He dedicated his life to giving back to his community, a commitment that gave United Way such a strong start in Winnipeg almost fifty years ago.”
When Palk passed away in 2009, Arnett honoured his grandfather’s memory by contributing to the William Lawrence Palk Family Fund within United Way of Winnipeg’s endowment, the Tomorrow Fund.
Arnett donated two Jets season tickets, a gift which inspired enthusiastic responses from many of the recipients, including 12 year-old Skyler Pearson.
“It was so cool to be part of Jets history by being at the first game in 15 years,” says Pearson. “I was born with spina bifida and have to rely on using a wheelchair so opportunities like this don’t come very often and to be so up close and personal was so awesome.”
United Way had received similar ticket donations from corporate partners and individuals over the years, but this outpouring of thanks suggested there was a unique opportunity to do something more.
“With the response from our agency partners, and conversations with Will, we realized by formalizing the program, we could engage many more Winnipeggers and reach that many more kids in our community,” says McGee.
Moved by Skyler’s message and the concept for a new program, Arnett flew to Winnipeg. On November 29, he helped United Way volunteers, staff and agency partners announce Dream Seats.
Now, by visiting Dream Seats or calling United Way, Winnipeggers can donate Jets, Bombers or Goldeyes tickets and make even more hockey, football or baseball dreams come true.