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Connection Week: Total raised for I Am Hope

More than $170,000 was raised for I Am Hope through Crusaders’ Connection Week, further reinforcing our franchise’s efforts to connect with and support Kiwis in need. 


Connection Week ran from 22-27 May and included our Hall of Fame Charity Lunch, our Round 14 game versus the Waratahs at Orangetheory Stadium, and a series of school visits with past, current and future players alongside I Am Hope founder Mike King. 


“We are thrilled to have raised $170,000 for I Am Hope through our Connection Week, but it’s only a drop in the bucket when it comes to what they need,” said Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO. 


“They’re doing such important work in our community so we were more than happy to partner with them for our Hall of Fame Charity Lunch and wider Connection Week activities.” 


I Am Hope aims to create positive societal attitudinal change around mental health. Young Kiwis struggle with distressing self-talk and overthinking, and this can often lead to them feeling isolated and alone. By showing them everyone has these thoughts, they don’t feel alone, they are more likely to talk about their emotions, and we can give our kids a better life. 

Money raised through Connection Week will go directly to I Am Hope, who facilitate free counselling sessions for kids in need. 


The Hall of Fame Charity Lunch was held on Friday 26 May at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, attended by more than 700 alumni, commercial partners, players and VIPs. The occasion was mainly to induct Todd Blackadder, Justin Marshall and Wayne Smith, but the charity auction was a clear highlight for all. 


Including the likes of a kicking masterclass with Richie Mo’unga, an all-captain’s jersey signed live, and hunting and fishing trips with current Crusaders, the charity auction raised more than $120,000 alone.  


Congratulations to all successful bidders who took home amazing experiences and pieces of sporting history – your contribution towards the total raised was enormous. 


Our friends at Chemist Warehouse raised more than $40,000 through their in-store activations, contributing to the Connection Week grand total of $172,577. 


Thanks to all the schools who hosted the Crusaders and I Am Hope, and a big thank you to all those who contributed to the success of Connection Week and our collective fundraising efforts.