Bison women’s hockey endowment fund aims to keep dreams alive
Carla Sharman understands the importance of giving back.
In November 2005, her uncle David (T.D.) Einarsson started the Bison women’s volleyball endowment fund by generously donating $360,000, a gift that was matched by the province of Manitoba as part of the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI).
“It left a great impression on me,” Sharman says. “It was really a proud moment for our family.”
Carla is the mother of Asper student and Bison hockey forward, Alanna Sharman who was nine at the time of Einarsson’s gift. Eleven years later Carla Sharman has continued demonstrating her family’s philanthropy by creating the Bison women’s hockey endowment fund.
Since Alanna’s first year with the team in 2014, Carla has been an active member of the Bison hockey scholarship fundraising committee. The group organizes an annual event, usually a dinner or reception, aimed at supporters and partners of the Bison Hockey programs to raise funds for student-athlete hockey scholarships.
It was an early realization that more was needed.
Sharman had witnessed some girls have to give up their hockey dreams and leave the team after not being able to financially support their academics while playing post secondary sport.
With that in mind, Sharman went to former athletic director, Coleen Dufresne to discuss the process to start an endowment fund.
“I talked to my husband and said, why don’t we just get it going and we can try to continue to build it over time and maybe get some corporate funding or other people to support it so that down the road the coaches won’t be so dependent on fundraising every single year.”
The Sharman’s initial gift came in January of 2016 and was matched by the MSBI program to create an endowed fund of $25,000 that now generates close to $1500 for scholarships annually.
“My goal is to get people interested and contributing to it, so that the fund builds and we could eventually have scholarships for ten girls or 15 girls annually. It’s a building process that requires some effort to make people aware of it.”
Sharman has seen first-hand the benefits that university hockey has had on her daughter, both on and off the ice. It’s also the highest level of hockey currently available for women in Manitoba.
She hopes that by continuing to grow the fund, more female athletes will have the opportunity to show their skills and grow both as players and people without having to be concerned with finances.
“The obvious benefit is the team building and the support that the girls provide for each other at university to make it a very positive experience,” Sharman says of the university hockey experience.
“It teaches them organization skills when they have to balance academics with travelling and training. It will also give them life-long friends that they’ll stay connected with I’m sure. It’s such a good life lesson about getting along with people and trying to do your best and be your best.”
To contribute to the Women’s Hockey Endowment Fund visit give.umanitoba.ca/BisonWomensHockeyEndowmentFund or for more information, please contact Ashley Davidson: Ashley [dot] Davidson [at] umanitoba [dot] ca or call 204-474-7899