A one-of-a-kind Internet event has been launched from the small island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean. Titled "The World’s First Internet Banquet and Scuba Dive," the new website will give visitors a chance to win free round-trip airline tickets between the USA and Bonaire on Air Jamaica and ALM and between Amsterdam and Bonaire on KLM. There are also free hotels stays at eight leading resorts on the island and 12 sport and health packages.
There are 45 door prizes in all; ten of which are worth more than US $1,000. They are all part of a fundraising drive for Jong Bonaire, the youth center for teens on the island. To be eligible for the door prizes, website visitors merely make a donation to the non-profit organization. Here’s how it works.
Visitors to the websitecan enjoy a "virtual banquet." Great food will be "served," but no calories. There will be interesting entertainment, but no long speeches. Many will call it the ideal fundraising event. The virtual banquet is being hosted by Jong Bonaire, (pronounced young bon-air) which is a non-profit after school youth center on the small island in the southern Caribbean.
Donations to Jong Bonaire of US $100 are automatically entered in the door prize drawing. In addition to the eleven grand prizes of airline tickets and free hotel stays at leading island resorts, another 12 prizes are worth from US $150 and $600. And there are free desserts, real ones, for all donors.
"We searched the web and we think this is a ‘world’s first’ event," said Rene Hakkenberg, a member of the Jong Bonaire Organizing Committee. "Certainly the extent of this virtual banquet is unique. People can enjoy a virtual meal at the restaurant of their choice, they can take a virtual scuba dive and even have a virtual tour of the island. All we ask in return is a REAL donation."
Donations can be made on-line with a credit card or check from around the world using the secure Charity Web system. Or, if people don’t want to donate on-line, they can mail donations or make direct bank transfers. Donations in the US go to a tax deductible 501c(3) foundation: Friends of Jong Bonaire (EIN #13-4090990).
For on-line donations at the website www.jongbonaire.org, all that’s needed is a valid credit card or checking account. The site is linked to the secure Charity Web system. Within minutes after a donation is made, the donor will receive an e-mail receipt acknowledging the donation and a similar receipt will go to Jong Bonaire for entry in the door prize drawings.
CharityWeb is an organization created to help non-profit organizations use the Internet for fundraising. CharityWeb uses a secure server that is totally dedicated to managing donations to authentic non-profit organizations and will never use the names of donors to the charities it represents. Its list of non-profit clients include: C.A.R.E., the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, Amnesty International USA and many others.
If people prefer to donate off-line, they can send a check to: Friends of Jong Bonaire, Merrill Lynch DTC #5198, Account # 820-04B36 (note "b" NOT 8 before the 36), c/o Steve Cacciatore, VP, P.O.Box 9173, Quincy MA 02269-9727 USA. e-mail to [email protected] if there are questions or if a bank transfer is preferred.
For donations on Bonaire or from the Caribbean, transfers can be made to Sentro pa Hubentut Jong Bonaire, Maduro & Curiel’s Bank Bonaire, Account #103.716.01, Kaya LD Gerharts #1, Kralendijk, Bonaire. Checks can also be sent to Jong Bonaire Donations, Kaya Simon Bolivar 16, Kralendijk, Bonaire, along with donor’s name, address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail.
Donors by mail or bank transfer need to provide their name, full address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail address so they can be notified if they are a winner of one of these exciting door prizes. There will also be "tickets" for sale at two Maduro & Curiel’s Banks on the island (downtown and Hato branches) and Valerie’s Airport Shop.
"Bonaire is a very small island and it’s hard to raise money here," says Hakkenberg. "But there are many people around the world who know and love this island and its wonderful people. So we decided to have some fun and let everyone have a chance to win a great prize while they do a good deed."
The fundraising site, www.jongbonaire.org is offering donors a unique opportunity to sample the island’s restaurants, take and insider’s tour of places like the Cargill Solar Salt Company and the local water production facility. There is also the chance to buy artwork, photography and music from island artists. All proceeds go to the youth center.
According to Hakkenberg, the entire island is getting involved with the event. "Local support for Jong Bonaire has been exceptional with virtually every tourist-related business contributing." The hotel prizes are for two people at some of the island’s leading resorts: Buddy Dive Resort, Capt. Don’s Habitat, Deep Blue View Bed & Breakfast, Lions Dive Resort, Sand Dollar Condo Resort, Black Durgon Inn, Harbour Village Resort and Plaza Resort.
All donors to Jong Bonaire will receive a "Just Desserts" Coupon Book for free desserts – real ones – at leading island restaurants. Value of the coupon book is US $ 50, or half of the cost of a ‘ticket’ donation. Donors will also receive a free Bonaire scenic "wallpaper" for their computer. The donation period will last from May through December 2001, with drawing for the prizes on 30 January 2002. Winners will have until 30 March 2003 to use their prizes. Complete details about the prizes, how to donate and lots of information on Jong Bonaire can be found at.