Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Never say never to fundraising

by Richard Milo, Past President Irvine Spectrum Rotary Club

The Irvine Spectrum Rotary Club held a spectacular Gala Casino Night – Auction – Dance - Gourmet Buffet fundraiser at the Village Crean in Newport Beach on Saturday Aug 8, 2009. The “Mid Summer Nights Dreams Come True” event, which netted over $9,500 for the club’s charitable giving funds, was an inaugural fundraiser that was held in lieu of the Club’s traditional Golf Tournament.

122 people attended the $100/person event which featured hosted appetizers, a 30 foot Las Vegas style buffet, a full service dessert buffet, 15 professionally run casino tables, a DJ with dancing, a cash bar, raffle drawings and both live and silent auctions. Catering and event planning was provide by Catering for You (Dianne Braasch, an Irvine Spectrum Rotary Club member). The Club’s greatest thanks go to the Village Crean that made the venue available at no charge for the fundraising effort.

Over the past decade, the Irvine Spectrum Rotary Club had built up a continually successful golf tournament that was highly leveraged with businesses in the restaurant, auto and real estate industries. The recent recession had caused over 70% of the traditional sponsors to say “no thanks” to a Spring 2009 tournament. Faced with an empty space where the golf fundraiser had been, Dianne Braasch offered to spearhead a casino night as an alternative.

The Club was then faced with the proposition of a new, $100/person fundraiser to be held during a recession. In a stand up vote, the club members overwhelmingly agreed to support the event and sell the tickets required to get the event into the black. Mary Mar, Cisca Stellhorn and Luana Rodberg led the efforts for the raffle and live/silent auctions. Mody Gorsky, Toni Kay Fenton and Richard Milo formed a management support team to help Diane with the fund raising efforts to complement her catering and event planning. Virtually all the club members stepped up to help with event details such as decorations and supplies, as well as gathering $14,000 of items and services for the auction and raffle drawings.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Irvine Spectrum Rotary Club members, a new fundraiser was held that netted much needed cash to help those who depend on Rotary for a helping hand.