Adding up: $62K for pink

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gail Dennison, director of public relations for The Hormel Institute, center, talks during a press conference Wednesday at The Institute about “Paint the Town Pink,” a citywide effort that raised $62,548 for The Institute’s breast cancer research. -- Adam Harringa/

Businesses, donors add to Bruins’ $38k

Everyone involved in the inaugural “Paint the Town Pink” fundraiser benefiting The Hormel Institute has the same answer for why it was a runaway success.

“Cancer, especially breast cancer, touches every family,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, executive director of The Hormel Institute. “This is our war. Every family is touched by this deadly disease. So we should work together. This shows that people are united.”

Austin’s first citywide effort to decorate itself pink led to more than $62,500 raised for The Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research.

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Paint the Town Pink — created by a local committee to extend the success of the Austin Bruins hockey team’s “Paint the Rink Pink” fundraising game — involved numerous Austin businesses and organizations Feb. 2-5.

“I am deeply touched and also moved because this reflects our community, our city’s support for cancer research,” Dong said. “I just want to congratulate the people who had this idea and put it into action. This is just a marvelous idea.”

Major contributions include nearly $39,000 from the Bruins’ second-annual Paint the Rink Pink; almost $12,000 from the 10th-annual “Fishing for a Cure;” about $3,000 raised at the Hormel Foods Corp. plant in Austin; nearly $1,500 from a St. Olaf Lutheran Church pink pancakes and Spam breakfast; and $1,400 from the Austin High School girls basketball team’s “Paint the Packer Gym Pink” game.

“The community support is just outstanding,” said Dr. Ann Bode, associate director of The Institute. “People have just stepped up and done just a wonderful job. It’s amazing to see so much enthusiasm.”

Austin Convention and Visitors’ Bureau executive director Cheryl Corey said she couldn’t wait to hear what the total was.

“I figured it would be over $40,000, but $62,500 is just amazing for a first event, and we have some wonderful ideas for next year,” she said.

Paint the Town Pink funds go directly to The Institute’s cutting-edge research into ways to prevent and control breast cancer.

Representatives from The Institute, the CVB, Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, Austin Parks & Recreation Department and Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin led the creation of Paint the Town Pink after the Bruins’ first Paint the Rink Pink drew a sellout crowd of nearly 2,000 people and raised over $22,000 for The Institute in February 2011. The Paint the Town Pink committee worked with local volunteers, organizations and businesses on new fundraising events as well as creating and distributing pink cardboard ribbons and pink flags throughout the city.

Jeff Baldus, of the Chamber of Commerce, and his wife, Kris, donated the numerous pink flags that were posted in front of The Institute and downtown.

This year’s Paint the Rink Pink on Feb. 4 drew another sellout crowd and in two years has raised more than $60,000 for The Institute, mainly through its highly successful post-game auction of each Bruins player’s pink jersey.

Organizers plan to bring Paint the Town Pink back in 2013 in what Corey said is hopefully an even larger citywide event. Businesses, organizations and others who have ideas or would like to participate in next year’s event should contact the Austin CVB at 507-437-4563 or

Organizations involved in "Paint the Town Pink" during a press conference Wednesday at The Institute.