An island benefit for land mine victims in Asia

A Bainbridge nonprofit organization that has helped thousands of landmine victims around the world is looking for help close to home this year.

In an effort to reach more islanders, Clear Path International is moving its largest annual fundraiser from Seattle to Bainbridge.

Set for Saturday evening, the event will feature live music, improv comedy and an auction for foreign trips and a dinner with a famous author.

“This is our first benefit on the island where we were founded eight years ago,” said Imbert Matthee, Clear Path’s executive director. “We’ve grown amazingly since then.”

Clear Path has expanded from its initial focus area in central Vietnam to assist landmine victims in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and, most recently, Afghanistan.

The organization’s staff has grown to 20 and its budget now tops $2 million a year.

Since 2000, Clear Path has helped 8,000 people with emergency medical assistance, job training, education and participation in Para Olympics. The organization also supplies several hospitals and schools.

The fundraiser at Wing Point Golf and Country Club will feature performances by singer Dan Connolly and the Edge improv group. Live and silent auctions include trips to Europe, the Caribbean, and Walla Walla’s wine country. A dinner with “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” author Tom Robbins is also on the auction block.

Clear Path hopes raise at least $50,000 for landmine accident survivors in Southeast Asia.

“The needs remain urgent (there), but some of our larger sponsors have reduced their funding in favor of more recent areas of conflict,” Matthee said.

Seattle law firm Marler Clark will match the first $10,000 raised at the event.

The $75 event starts at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (206) 780-5963.

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