Nonprofits raise money with gameday parking at Chamber of Commerce

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce has auctioned off their back parking lot to non-profit organizations to raise money during Ole Miss home football games. Some organizations have raised as much as $2,000 during past seasons.

The use of the parking lot as a fundraiser has been going on for more than 12 years, allowing over 60 non-profits that are members of the Chamber to raise money for their respective organizations.

For the last two years, the winners have been selected through a drawing at an After Hours event. The winning organization needed to be present at the event in order to be selected.

“Heading to the Ole Miss Campus for a Rebel Football game or just going down to tailgate in the historic Grove, you’ll want to park as close as possible, this is where the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber parking lot comes in handy,” said Rosie Vassallo, Chamber liaison for the football parking lot fundraiser. “It’s a straight shot from the Chamber’s parking lot to the Grove, which makes it an appealing place to park. In addition, it has become one of the best ways for non-profit organizations that are members of the chamber to have the chance to be a winner of one of the 7 home games here, while making money for their organization.”

The management of the parking lot brings in funding for whichever nonprofit won the drawing for that home game. Lafayette County Master Gardeners Association parked nearly 35 vehicles in the lot on Sept. 3, charging $40 per spot. $400 worth of baked goods were also sold to raise money for the organization.

The Lafayette County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who provide services and enhance public education in consumer horticulture to citizens of Lafayette County.

“Despite the heat and a little rain, everyone had fun and the day was a success,” read a post on the organization’s website.

Oxford Film Festival’s name was drawn for the Sept. 10 game versus Central Arkansas. The parking lot will be managed by various nonprofit organizations for the rest of the 5 home games.

On Sept. 24, during the home game against Tulsa, Exchange Club of Oxford will manage the lot.

The Exchange Club’s mission is to provide individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and the country as a whole. Exchange’s core values are family, community, and country.

On Oct. 1, versus Kentucky, Habitat for Humanity will manage the lot.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states and in more than 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward this vision by building and improving homes in partnership with individuals and families in need of a decent and affordable place to live.

On Oct. 15, against Auburn, the Boys & Girls Club of Oxford will manage the lot.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national organization of local chapters which provide voluntary youth after-school programs.

During the Nov. 12 game against Alabama, Oxford Civic Chorus will manage the lot.

The Oxford Civic Chorus has been dedicated to inspiring singers, enriching community and expanding musical horizons since 1998. The choir gathers for weekly rehearsals, ​performs two concerts a year, and is available to sing at local events.

During the final home game on Nov. 24, versus in-state rival Mississippi State, Kiwanis Club of Oxford will manage the lot.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. Local clubs look out for communities and the international organization takes on large-scale challenges, such as fighting disease and poverty.

“The most important thing to do is to arrive early,” said Vassallo. “Traffic and parking will always take longer than expected. Another great thing about parking in the Chamber parking lot is that it is so much easier heading out.”