KC Blues rugby team camped out on the roof of the soon-to-open River of Refuge
to raise over $30,000 for the local non-profit


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 2014) – Rooftop Blues, an inaugural fundraising stunt for River of Refuge, raised $32,400 in two days for the local nonprofit aiding homeless working families living in motels.

The event partnered with the 15-man KC Blues Rugby team who camped out on the rooftop in the elements for two nights and three days March 6-8, 2014. Players went onto the rooftop of the three-story building (the former Park Lane Hospital) to raise awareness and raise funds to help open the city’s first-of-its-kind comprehensive transitional housing dedicated solely to homeless working families living in motels. The team had set a goal to raise $25,000 in three nights and they were able to exceed their goal in only two nights.

Proceeds from the Rooftop Blues event will assist River of Refuge open its first 11 apartments which will offer free temporary refuge for working parents and their children in one single location. The former ParkLaneHospital sat vacant for more than a decade before River of Refuge purchased it and began rehabbing the building.

As one of the top rugby clubs in the country (playing in Division 1 and qualifying for the National Championship in 2010), the KC Blues were eager to put their energies to work for the worthy community fundraiser. Under the watchful eye of a web camera, players used social media and traditional news coverage to approach friends, family, business associates and the general public to give through a simple and secure online donation process at www.rooftopblues.com.

“We’ve been in the planning and rehabbing stages for River of Refuge for a couple of years, while helping homeless working families living in motels find housing one at a time,” said John Wiley, founder and president of River of Refuge. “The response from the community to this extreme fundraising stunt was overwhelming. We not only exceeded our goal, but it really helped us build awareness for the tremendous problem of homelessness in Kansas City, and raise funds we need to open our doors to aid more families. We are grateful to everyone who contributed through donations, and we extend our special thanks to the KC Blues Rugby team. Their enthusiasm and endurance put us over the top!”

Through its data and research, River of Refuge estimates that as many as 300 to 400 working families are living in motels with their children throughout Greater Kansas City on any given night. It is a specific mission of River of Refuge to help working families get out of motels, teach them to live independently (operating on a budget they already earn at their jobs) and find permanent homes they can afford.

River of Refuge intends to open a transitional family housing facility in the former ParkLaneHospital in Kansas City, Mo., to serve as a regional lodging complex for families. When it opens at 5155 Raytown Rd., the complex will provide a direct alternative to pay-by-the-week motels as well as offer a complete program for transition to self-sufficiency including financial counseling and access to significant community resources needed to be successful in finding permanent housing. Until the first apartments are complete, the organization continues to place one family at a time through donations, referrals and volunteers.

About the Kansas City Blues

Originally established in 1966, the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club is nearing 50 years of success both regionally and nationally. The Blues pride themselves on winning with homegrown talent which translates to a strong commitment to its community. Through youth rugby coaching and other philanthropic endeavors, the Blues are generously involved in a variety of community programs.


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