Luck o' the Irish Raffle
Congratulations to our Raffle winners:
Grand Prize Winner:
Ethan is Wayne Schake's grandson.
Wayne had given each of his grandsons a ticket as a Christmas Present. 
$500 Prize Winners:
Nancy Cline 
Zebi Bojarsky
Kris Milton
Plaza Bistro (also a sponsor)
Wayne Schake (right), uses a fisherman's net to collect the check representing his grandson's
Luck o' the Irish winnings from Ron Lawson (left), president of Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley.
Beth Fox (center), chairperson of the fundraiser, watches from a socially acceptable distance as
Lawson "casts" the check over Schake's fence. Lawson and Fox took an abundance of caution
delivering the check by wearing approved masks and gloves.

Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley Raises Almost $90,000 from Luck o’ the Irish Raffle

[Sonoma, CA, March 27, 2020] – Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley raised nearly $90,000 through the club’s annual Luck o’ the Irish Raffle, according to Ron Lawson, the club’s president. “Every single penny of that money goes back to the community,” said Lawson, “and to worthy projects internationally. We don’t keep any of it.”

The club uses the raffle revenue to fund a wide range of projects. “Money we raised last year went to smaller projects, like providing financial support for a young man’s Eagle Scout effort, and bigger stuff like books for the kids at El Verano School. With a $5,000 grant, Rotarian Kanak Raj, owner of Crown Cleaners, coordinated matching funds from other Rotary clubs to raise $40,000 for an eye clinic in Veranasi, India, too.”

Rotarian Gayle Arrowood, a mortgage broker with Homebridge Financial Services and who oversees the grants program, said the club had planned to open the grants process to applicants at the end of March. “Unfortunately, the Coronavirus changed our plans, she said. “This year we’re going to see where our money can best help our community get through this crisis.”

The club has helped a couple of communities through crises in recent years. In 2017 the club collaborated with members of the soon-to-launch Rotary Club of Sonoma Sunrise to raise and distribute about $1,000,000 in cash, food and dry goods to help the valley recover from the county’s wild fires. Both clubs also helped Rotary Club of Paradise raise money for that club’s community after the Camp Fire in 2018, as well.

Rotarian Beth Fox, who has run the raffle for several years, said local businesses sponsor the drawing by providing the money for the $10,000 grand prize and four $500 second prizes. “Sponsors help us help in a big way. They put up the prize money. This year support came from Plaza Bistro, Waldron Landscaping, Christa Granton Insurance, Hancock Partners Wealth Management, Tiffany Knef – Realtor, Stately Construction, Edward Jones Investing – John Bast, Gary Scott, and Marck Zuehlsdorff, Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma, and Sweetwater Spectrum. So we deeply appreciate their support.

“Normally, the club has a corned beef dinner at the Moose Lodge the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate our members’ efforts selling the raffle tickets and to draw the winners,” said Fox. “The growing concern for the virus caused us to postpone that, however.”

“We still held the drawing,” said Lawson. “The grand prize winner is Ethan Benes, grandson of Rotarian Wayne Schake and his wife Celia. Wayne bought his grandsons raffle tickets as Christmas presents. It paid off big time for Ethan. He’s a high school senior in Carmel who’s in the process of choosing a college to attend next year. With the sheltering in place order, he couldn’t come to collect the prize. He chose the $10,000 in lieu of the two-week roundtrip for two to Ireland. Nancy Cline, Zebi Bojarsky, Chris Milton, and Plaza Bistro – one of our sponsors, each won $500.”

“We appreciate the families, friends, and neighbors who purchased our raffle tickets. And, of course, our sponsors help make the entire thing possible,” said Lawson. “These challenging times require us to adapt quickly—as Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley does what we can to make the valley a better place to live and work. We’ll continue doing everything we can to help our friends and neighbors get through this Coronavirus crisis, and we’ll be there to help with recovery support, too.”