Rotary Club’s ticket to Ireland — or $10k cash

Posted on January 28, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

2019-01-14 15.14.25 (2)

Beth Fox, chairperson of the “Luck ‘o the Irish” raffle for Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley, supplies a bundle of raffle tickets to Kanak Raj of Sonoma’s Crown Cleaners. Raj is annually the top ticket seller for the drawing, which offers a two week trip to Ireland (or $10,000 cash) as grand prize. Four other people win $500 each.

Through its “Luck ‘o the Irish” event, the club raises more than $100,000 annually to fund grants to a wide variety of groups in Sonoma Valley and beyond.

Rotary members sell tickets to the public for $50 each. In all, about 2,000 tickets will be sold for 2019’s pot of gold.

The drive culminates March 16 with a St. Patrick’s Day dinner at Sonoma’s Moose Lodge.

“We celebrate our efforts with a dinner, and we draw the winning tickets at that event,” said Fox. “Then we call the lucky grand prize winner, and put the winner on the speaker system so we can all enjoy sharing the good news with them.”

Raj sold nearly 200 tickets last year.  ““I’ve been a part of Sonoma for a long, long time, and I’ve been a Rotarian for even longer,” he said.  “I’ve seen the good that Rotary does for Sonoma Valley and around the world. This fundraiser is important to the club because it enables us to do so many things. It’s a very, very good cause.”

Each Rotary member is asked to buy or sell 20 tickets.  “Some of the club members are phenomenal,” Fox said.  “Last year three members, Raj, Wayne Schake, and Rick Wynne, sold more than 100 tickets each. They were honored as our centurions at the dinner, too.”

About a dozen sponsors also help the effort by contributing $1,000 each. “That money funds our prizes,” Fox said. “This year so far, Bank of Marin, Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma, Gary Scott of Edward Jones, and Byron Hancock of Hancock Partners have contributed.”

With money from last year’s fundraising, the club awarded a wide range of grants. Gayle Arrowood, head of the club’s grants committee said, “We gave just $250 to an Eagle Scout for his final project, $1,000 to the Sonoma Valley High School Ag Department, $1,082 to Sassarini Elementary School for buddy benches on the playground, and $13,810 to the Boys & Girls Club for carpet in their computer clubhouse.”

Arrowood added that club also awards money to international projects. “We’re giving money, which is matched by other Rotary clubs, to support a much-needed eye clinic in India.”

Fox said businesses can join in as sponsors. “Gary Umholtz is coordinating our sponsors. He can be reached at 707.338.0338.”

Raffle tickets are available through members of the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley and at businesses like Crown Cleaners.

“Of course, the grand prize is the big carrot for people to buy raffle tickets. Someone will win the choice between $10,000 and a trip for two to Ireland,” Fox said. “Buying a ticket, though, really means helping us help make lives in Sonoma Valley a little better.”


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA