LA CROSSE, Wis. - (WXOW) - The La Crosse Rotary Club donated $45,000 to five different local non-profits after one of the members created his own challenge and began to donate money by doing one of his favorite hobbies.
Al Louis, a local Rotarian, started Al's Musky Challenge Fundraiser last year and they raised $4,000. This year, the challenge began on July 26th and ended August 28th. For every musky he caught while on a fishing trip at Lake Vermillion in Minnesota, he donated $100, but that wasn't the only way they brought in money. Anyone could donate different amounts based on how much they wanted to give. People also donated if he took a picture in a requested outfit or if the fish was bigger than a certain size.
"There was a bunch of Cubs fans in our group and one particular from out of town. He said, 'I will give you X amount per fish, but if you put on a Cubs jersey, I will give you double,'" said Al Louis, Rotary Club Board Member and founder of Al's Musky Challenge. "Well, I hate the Cubs, but for charity I'll do anything. So we did that one."
His goal this year was just to raise $20,000, but before he even went on the fishing trip, they had raised just under that amount just with people sending in donations. Three months later, they had $45,000 to donate.
Louis explained that with everything going on, these times are hard for non-profits and fundraisers like these are important.
They donated $2,000 to Mobile Meals, Gateway Area Council BSA, La Crosse Public Education Foundation, and Family and Children's Center. The remainder of the $45,000 was donated to New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers.
There is still money coming in for the challenge right now, and when it is all said and done, they expect to be at $46,000. Al is excited for next year to even exceed that large amount and to continue helping out in the years to come.
"It's just amazing what [the community] does and what they give for needs to make sure that we are in a safe place and things are taken care of. People just step up and make a big difference. Thank you to all the La Crosse community and all Rotarians and all people for helping out because you just made this a great event and all the money goes back to local non-profits," said Louis.