Raising a quarter million dollars for the community.

First off – I’ll start off with the fact it wasn’t me who raised 250,000 dollars.  It was a huge effort of Rotarians, sponsors, staff  and community that made it happen.    I was hired as the Raffle Manager and steered the ship.  Or, maybe just ensured the ship stayed upright!

It all started last August when the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie took over the 13 year old Dream Home lottery from the local hospital foundation.   There was a bid process for the management of the event.  One of the keys was they wanted  a licensed Raffle Ticket Manager under Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.  There are around a dozen in the province..  Jan and I are included in that.  So I was excited to take on the project.  We found a builder, a home and got started.   There is a year of tales to tell..  But will say it was one heck of a rush to sell over 1.3 million dollars in tickets.  3 weeks prior to the draw we were pretty stressed!  But the community bought in and bought tickets!  Some of the highlights I enjoyed were..

  • Using facebook.   Over 600 followers joined us in the journey.   They commented, they asked, they participated.
  • Keeping a photo gallery of the build.  Many positive comments as people followed along from fall to opening in May 2011.
  • Working with the Rotarians.   Some days I think the Club is not as young as some would prefer – until I realize these senior members are the guys and gals with time, talent and expertise.  Many put hundreds of hours in.

    Rotary President Dennis Young and winner Howard McPherson hold Howard's winning ticket.

Working under the eyes of Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission was a real learning curve.  It’s good to know the public’s hard-earned dollars are in very good hands when they buy a  fundraising lottery ticket.    On facebook people asked tough questions.  “How can a winner win more than once?  Is this a sketchy operation?”    AGLC ensures all tickets are in the draw barrel, they ensure an accounting firm reconciles the tickets VRS dollars and every ticket is accounted for.  AGLC rightfully so insists rules are followed to the letter.  With this question, the answer is – AGLC regulations require if you have more than one different prize – your ticket goes back in the draw barrel for every draw.   If you give away LIKE prizes (say 25 gift cards all exact same) then your ticket does not go back in the draw barrel till the next DIFFERENT prize is drawn for.   So yes someone can win more than once if the prizes are differing.  Again – Gaming regulates all this.

In the end $250,000 was raised.  $50,000 for our local hospital foundation, and $200,000 for Rotary projects.   Many folks asked “Where does Rotary spend the dollars”…  So we put a page here with those details..

We gave away 500 prizes including the main prize of the million dollar home package to 78-year-old Howard McPherson – who is moving from his seniors home to a Dream Home!

We laughed, we cried, we learned.  We earned the community a quarter million.

Howard wants to move in as soon as possible.  Now the home is empty (except the furnishings that stay)  the cleaners have cleaned and a few touch-ups done.  The home is ready for its proud new owner, his kids and grand kids.  After a year of work by over 100 Rotarians, sponsors and staff – it’s kinda sad to see it all end.   Kind of.

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