Toonie Toss fever

Wildly suc­cess­ful 50/50 toonie toss fundraiser to get new pre­pay sys­tem this fall


Ro­tary fundraiser go­ing strong, raises about $1 mil­lion an­nu­ally

It’s no se­cret why Mud Creek Ro­tary’s 50/ 50 Toonie Toss is so pop­u­lar — it raises funds for the com­mu­nity, and also of­fers play­ers the chance at a hefty cash prize.

Ro­tary club di­rec­tor of fundrais­ing Sheila McKay says the fundrais­ing game has done noth­ing but con­tinue to grow since its start in 2013 and has con­tin­ued to raise an av­er­age $ 1 mil­lion each year — half of which is tossed straight back to com­mu­nity groups lo­cated from Wind­sor to Ber­wick.

And with a pre­pay sys­tem that’s on the rocks, the club is look­ing to doll out a new sys­tem this fall to keep peo­ple play­ing, and con­tinue rais­ing money.

“Peo­ple get re­ally ex­cited about it. It took off right away, and it just seems to keep build­ing mo­men­tum,” she said.

‘So well, so fast’: McKay

The wildly suc­cess­ful lottery was first in­tro­duced in May 2013, as the ro­tary mod­eled their fundraiser af­ter one launched by a club in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

They trav­eled to the is­land to see how ev­ery­thing worked, and knew it would be per­fect back home, ac­cord­ing to McKay.

“It was also the tim­ing that made it do so well, so fast. We did it be­fore other groups started run­ning 50/50 fundrais­ers, and it’s con­tin­ued grow­ing,” she said.

The game as­signs each reg­is­tered player a set of dig­its known as a life­time num­ber. Each num­ber is en­tered into a lottery and man­u­ally picked weekly every Mon­day, and if the num­ber is ac­tive — the player has paid for and tossed a toonie in for that week’s draw — the cash is split.

Half goes to the win­ning player, and the half goes back to a com­mu­nity group se­lected by the ro­tary club.

If the num­ber is not an ac­tive player, it rolls over into the fol­low­ing week’s cash pool. This, said McKay, is what gets peo­ple even more ex­cited.

“We had a rollover con­tinue for an en­tire sum­mer in 2015, and our largest-ever win was six months ago, and was more than $100,000,” she said.

New pre­pay sys­tem this fall

More than 31,500 numbers have been is­sued to play­ers since 2013, and nearly half of these numbers are played reg­u­larly, says McKay.

The fundraiser has re­cently had to sus­pend its pop­u­lar pre­pay toonie toss­ing op­tion, where par­tic­i­pants could pay for a set- amount of tick­ets ahead of draws.

This is be­cause the sys­tem be­came over­loaded, and the pres­sure caused small is­sues to be­come larger prob­lems, said Rob Porter, another ro­tary club mem­ber.

“This had be­come a very pop­u­lar way of par­tic­i­pat­ing... [ but] the time it took to rec­on­cile all is­sues as­so­ci­ated with it be­came too time con­sum­ing for our small group,” said Porter.

For now, par­tic­i­pants can stop in at one of more than 20 ven­dors from Wind­sor to Ber­wick, pay to play and toss a toonie with their num­ber into a box.

McKay con­firmed the fix, a web­site where peo­ple will be able to pay on­line to par­tic­i­pate in the weekly draws, is ex­pected to be com­pleted some­time this fall.

“It cer­tainly was con­ve­nient for quite a few play­ers to be able to pre­pay, and we want to con­tinue to en­cour­age peo­ple to play — this is why we needed to make the fix hap­pen,” she said.


Sheila McKay is the di­rec­tor of fundrais­ing for the Mud Creek Ro­tary Club, and an or­ga­nizer of its 50/50 Toonie Toss fundraiser, which splits prof­its be­tween one lucky win­ner and com­mu­nity groups. The fundraiser raises an av­er­age of $1 mil­lion per year, with half of that go­ing di­rectly to com­mu­nity groups from Wind­sor to Ber­wick.


Par­tic­i­pants write their num­ber on a sticker and place it on a toonie that they en­ter into the weekly 50/50 Toonie Toss for a chance to win cash. The largest amount drawn to date was about $100,000.

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