Fundraising for Without Limits

by | June 19, 2014, 6:00am 0

After a series of articles and conversations regarding women and gender equity in ultimate, The Simple Pledge for Women in Ultimate, a Facebook event started by Seattle Riot’s Nora Carr, made the rounds last month. Originally intended as a pledge for players and supporters to support women’s ultimate during the US Open, it quickly grew into something more. Players pledged to coach women’s leagues, buy game footage, and support their female friends that played.

Karen Ko, however, had even greater aspirations. Ko, a Bay Area-based player who currently plays with Blackbird, began her ultimate career with the UC Santa Barbara Burning Skirts. When considering ways she could support the women’s ultimate community, she immediately thought of her old college rival and friend Michelle Ng and her women’s ultimate support organization Without Limits.

Ko (left) and Ng (second from right) first met while playing against each other in college.

Ko (left) and Ng (second from right) first met while playing against each other in college.

“Michelle and I played against each other back in college. I met her through a teammate on the Burning Skirts, and we immediately bonded over our love of ultimate and creating interconnected communities despite college rivalries. I remember that even back in 2006, Michelle would dream about growing the sport of women’s ultimate as a career.” Ko recalls.

Ng followed that dream, and in 2010, founded Without Limits, an organization focused on building relationships and developing players within the women’s ultimate community at all levels. Since 2010, Without Limits has run over 60 tournaments, run numerous skills clinics, put out resource manuals, and mentored over 50 individual women’s teams (Ohio State Fever, current college national champions, being one notable example).

These efforts haven’t come without sacrifice. Much has come of late of how tirelessly Ng works, sleeping out of her car and crashing on couches as she navigates field cancellations, horrendous weather, and other obstacles standing in the way of her dream of an interconnected women’s ultimate community.

“Anyone who has ever run a college tournament knows how stressful and thankless [Ng’s job] is. Michelle not only runs excellent tournaments, she organizes all of these tournaments and clinics in her spare time, outside of working a full time job. This is a staggering amount of work for just one person, and if and when Michelle decides to call it quits, everything Without Limits has accomplished up until this point will disappear.”

Ko had noted that while many sympathized with Ng’s problems, few had ever stepped up monetarily.

“For my ‘simple pledge’, I wanted to support Without Limits because I believe this is the most effective resource for female ultimate players that is also the most under-funded. Without Limits, as it is right now, is not sustainable. The weight of developing female talent across the nation at the college level should not rest solely on Michelle’s shoulders, and it is high time that we help find solutions before it is too late.”

Players gathered to discuss current issues in women's ultimate and create the design.

Players gathered to discuss current issues in women’s ultimate and create the design.

As the fundraiser idea began taking form, Ko recruited other Bay Area-based players to help brainstorm. They settled on the idea to create a unique shirt design that could be sold to raise funds. Abby VanMuijen, one of the captains of Nightlock and illustrator for the viral #GlobalPOV project, was a natural choice to design the shirt. Ko invited Bay Area-based women’s players and allies to her house for a discussion regarding women’s ultimate issues. VanMuijen was there to sketch thoughts from the meeting, which were turned into a shirt design and accompanying video.

Final shirt design

Final shirt design

The shirt can be purchased through the project’s website, womeninultimate.com, and all profits from the sale of the jerseys (donated by VC Ultimate) will go to support the 2015 Without Limits season. Ko is aiming for $5000 to kickstart the organization’s ambitious plans:

“There is so much more Michelle wants to do through Without Limits, but lacks the funding and the time for, such as hosting more Layouts – a large scale clinic with guest coaches, hosting a college women’s summer camp, creating a skills and drills manual, and hiring someone to help redesign the website, manage social media outreach, and staff tournaments.” Ko explains.

The fundraiser is going well so far. $1400 has been raised since the campaign’s launch last Friday.

Besides simply buying a shirt, there are many other ways supporters can get involved. They can share the campaign video with their friends, join the Without Limits social media distribution list, and volunteer at Without Limits events. Those interested in making a monetary donation can do so via the Without Limits PayPal account: withoutlimitsultimate@gmail.com.

Bay Area locals can help out by attending a Without Limits fundraising event at Tope Bar in North Beach on Thursday, June 26 with some star guest bartenders, including Beau Kittredge and Kaela Jorgensen.

Click the image below to buy a shirt and support Without Limits:

withoutlimits

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