Kevin and his peers fundraise for the YWCA by taking cold plunges during Vancouver winter.

Ice, Ice Bathing: The Coolest Way to Support the YWCA

YWCA Metro Vancouver recently launched an online peer-to-peer fundraising platform. This digital hub empowers community members to independently take action and raise funds to support mothers, children and families across Metro Vancouver.  

 Open to everyone, the collaborative platform offers guidance, tips and resources, while remaining flexible enough for registrants to get creative. It walks users through customizing an individual or team page, setting a goal and spreading the word. By supporting essential programs and raising awareness, registrants become vital pillars of support in the community.  

This winter, Kevin Hanley took the plunge.  

He committed to 60 days of cold dips, from November 24, 2022 to January 22, 2023, submerging himself in ice-cold water to support the YWCA. He created a fundraising page, documented his progress on social media and ventured into frozen oceans and lakes for five minutes at a time. Meanwhile, donations rolled in. 

His goal was to raise money for the YWCA Ukrainian Mothers' Support Group, a program that helps Ukrainian refugee moms form connections, learn about resources and navigate parenting alone. Kevin gathered 71 supporters to cheer him on and raised a total of $3,190. 

However, not all fundraisers have to make a big splash to have an impact.  

Other types of challenges, like read-a-thons or fitness goals, can be highly effective and done virtually. Fundraisers in honour of birthdays or weddings are simple ways to engage supporters. Even one-time events, like summer barbeques, can quickly raise substantial funds. What’s important is building connections, leading change and inspiring others to do the same.  

Over the past few years, peer-to-peer fundraising has become an unprecedented phenomenon. In 2021 alone, the top 30 Canadian peer-to-peer programs collectively raised $154 million. This fundraising model is especially powerful for its ability to generate trust, cooperation and momentum in the community.  

 In the end, that was what stood out for Kevin—people coming together to uplift each other. "I really enjoyed the experience," he said. "I’d really like to thank all my supporters for everything. From all the donations, messages I received, followers on Instagram and people that stopped to chat to me on my way in or out of the water. It was great to see people get behind me so positively. Also, a massive shout out to everyone who joined me for a dip along the way (some more reluctantly than others)."  

 For those with cold feet to get started, Kevin has some tips: "Don’t be afraid to get out there and try to get people involved. More often than not, people are happy to help,” he said. "And don’t get caught up in the overall goal, set yourself smaller goals throughout the process and have fun in reaching them."  

To learn more or start your own fundraiser, contact Jess Tong at | 604 895 5789 or visit


This article is part of the 2023 Spring/Summer edition of our Contact Newsletter. 
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