By Mary Fox

Money raised at the 13th annual Ken Brown 700 Club Fundraiser this March was recently distributed by club members Dave Jones, Les Fox, Ollie Hazard and Don Ames this week.

Over $4,100 was awarded this year to seven charitable organizations selected by the Ken Brown 700 Club members, whose motto is “Help Us Help Others.” Included are organizations Brown recognized in the past and new ones he would have enthusiastically endorsed.

Organizations receiving donations this year are the Alley Katz, Almost Home Animal Sanctuary, Cattaraugus County SPCA, Ellicottville Community Charities, the Ellicottville-Great Valley Recreational Trail, the Ellicottville Memorial Library and the Nannen Arboretum.

“This is the second year the 700 Club has generously donated to the library. We are grateful to them and for all donations received, which we rely on throughout the year,” said Laura Flannigan, director of the Ellicottville Memorial Library.

Since Brown’s passing in 2012, the 700 Club was renamed the Ken Brown 700 Club. The club was founded in 2000 with 10 skiers who were 70 years old at the time. Originally, the club fundraiser was to benefit the Alley Katz, the dedicated ladies whose hands bring beauty to the village in the summer with their landscaping talents, and Almost Home Animal Sanctuary, where Laurie and Dr. Tim O’Leary care for unwanted animals of all kinds.

“We are honored and appreciate being chosen to receive this support by the 700 Club. It will help a lot of animals in this area,” said Laurie.

Over the years as more money was raised, more groups have been added to receive donations from the Ken Brown 700 Club Fundraiser. New this year is the Ellicottville-Great Valley Recreational Trail.

According to committee chairperson Ken Hinman,  “Getting the local community clubs and organizations on board with this trail project is terrific! These initial donations allow us to begin the process of a formal master plan for the trail location, trail obstacles and overall scope of the entire project. Thank you, 700 Club.”

Ken Brown loved Ellicottville and found numerous ways besides the 700 Club Fundraiser to give back not only to those in need, but also to those who loved a good time. Pink Croquet, the Sunshine Boys, his 69th Birthday Party, the Backroom Bunch, Mardi Gras King, a men’s sports calendar and giving plaques to community members he felt deserved recognition for their contributions to the town and village are only a few of the ways Ken celebrated life with his friends.

Brown was an avid skier and a great supporter of Holiday Valley, bringing busloads of skiers and wannabe skiers from Corbett’s Ski Shop in Hamilton, Canada, throughout the winter for a day on the slopes.

Over the past 11 years of its existence, the Ken Brown 700 Club has raised over $50,000, all of which has been generously donated to Ellicottville and surrounding charitable organizations.

Today, the 700 Club is alive and active with over 48 members. Anyone wishing to join can call Les Fox at (716) 945-1176. Membership is $50, which all goes to charity as part of the proceeds of the March fundraiser.

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