Julia Rivard, BRec'99

Julia_Rivard_243x180Julia Rivard (BRec’99) finished in ninth place in the women’s 500-metre four-person kayak event, along with her teammates, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Now she’s found a way to combine her passion for the Olympics with her entrepreneurial skills in support of Canada’s up-and-coming athletes.

Following the 2000 games, Rivard had to make a choice: continue training with a focus on 2004, or pursue a new career path. Feeling the pressure to earn a stable income, she retired from competitive paddling and began her career, starting in graphic design. However, her decision to retire left her with some regrets.

It was the challenge of this decision that inspired her to launch Pursu.it, a website where amateur athletes seek to raise funds from fans, supporters and ordinary Canadians in support of their dreams. Sometimes referred to as crowdfunding or microfunding, athletes set a target based on anything from travel costs to support staff salaries or equipment. So far, Pursuit has helped raise funding for many Canadian amateur athletes, and in 2013, it was an honouree in two categories of the International Webby Awards.

Dal Ringette on Pursuit

Ringette is new to Dalhousie University, just wrapping up its third season. Team members come from across Canada and all have been top players in their home provinces, with many competing on their respective provincial Canada Games teams.

As with any amateur team, fundraising is always a priority. Team General Manager, Alan Saade (BSC‘75), a long-time supporter and organizer of ringette in Nova Scotia, approached Dalhousie’s Office of External Relations for assistance in reaching their funding goals. This led to the collaboration with Pursuit and the development of a promotional video, team bios and photos, and a series of “givebacks” meant to thank the donors. These givebacks range from autographed team playing cards to coaching opportunities that Dalhousie team members give back to the local ringette community.

With only one month left, the campaign has over 1,000 followers and has almost reached the 15% mark of its $5,000 goal. You can learn more about the campaign or pledge your support for these young, determined athletes at Pursu.it.

Dalhousie Tigers Ringette Club from Pursuit on Vimeo.