Aug 112010

Raffle ticket art is by West Sacramento's Jahn Kloss

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

It’s new and it’s ambitious:

The West Sacramento Foundation has created an “all charities raffle” and invited pretty much any local nonprofit organization to join in. Participating groups will sell raffle tickets and keep $9 from every $10 ticket sold.

“The foundation is giving all these groups a chance to earn money, when they need it, in the amounts they need,” said event coordinator Katherine Van Diest.

“We have a little over $3,000 in tickets already distributed to these groups,” said Charlie Moore, executive director of the foundation. “Our goal is to get at least $5,000 in tickets out.”

But if demand is higher, the Foundation will happily print more tickets – just as it continues to solicit more of the raffle prizes that will go to some lucky ticket-buyers.

So far, participating groups range from the “Bryte and Broderick Community Action Network” to “Friends of the Main Drain Parkway” to local softball and swim leagues. As of last week, 18 different organizations were signed up to sell tickets as a fundraiser.

The foundation is doing the legwork of printing the tickets and lining up prizes like weekend getaways in New York and Las Vegas, a small flat-screen TV, a $500 shopping spree at Ikea, use of a skybox at a River Cats game, and a $1,000 gas card. Local groups just pick up their allotment of tickets and hit the streets to raise some cash.

Joe Goeden, Kathy van Diest and Charles Moore

“We’re taking a dollar out of (each ticket) to put it all together,” said Moore. “And if we have any money left over, it goes to support charity.”

That’s because the foundation’s core mission is to raise money and support local charities. The group’s big event has been the “444 Golf Tournament” – so named because West Sacramento became California’s 444th city when it incorporated in 1987.

“We only have done one thing until now,” said Moore. “Every year, for 20 years almost, the proceeds from this golf tournament are used to give grants to other nonprofits in the city to get through tough times.”

“The foundation has given funds to such groups as Meals on Wheels, the senior center, and American Legion Baseball,” added Van Diest. She calls the Foundation “the mothership for raising funds in the city.”

The foundation started up when West Sacramento became a city.

   “When the city incorporated, we figured the county (government) would be pulling back and the city couldn’t afford everything, so there would be a gap in social services,” said Joe Goeden, president of the foundation. Goeden was the West Sacramento city manager for most of the early years of the city’s history.

The “all charities raffle” culminates with an Oct. 16 spaghetti dinner and raffle drawing to be hosted by the Knights of Columbus. Dinner will be an affordable $5 per person (watch this newspaper for details), but raffle ticket holders don’t have to be present to win.

The raffle’s organizers encourage members of local charities to check with their own group to see if they’re participating in the raffle. If not, it’s not too late to get involved.

If you want to buy a ticket, contact your favorite West Sacramento charity groups and ask if they’re selling. Or drop by First Northern Bank on Harbor Boulevard or the Eagle Café in Southport, and buy a ticket directly from the Foundation to support grants to a variety of nonprofits.

The tickets themselves are pretty colorful: they feature a cartoon of West Sacramento’s skyline, with the ziggurat building flanked by Raley Field and the new CalSTRS tower. The artwork comes from West Sacramento’s Jahn Kloss, a cartoonist and artist.

If your group wants to get involved in the raffle, or if you have something you can donate as a raffle prize or an incentive prize to individual ticket sellers, contact Charles Moore at 417-5623 or Katherine Van Diest at 832-8965.