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CASA GRANDE — With an online auction and a raffle with a $5,000 cash prize, the Casa Grande Rotary fundraiser is set to begin March 10 with a goal of raising money to provide area college-bound students with scholarships.

This is the 35th year for the fundraiser. In past years, an auction and in-person raffle drawing event were held, but the event has been moved online this year due to COVID-19.

The raffle drawing for the $5,000 cash prize will held March 13 during a livestreamed event. The online event will also include videos from some of the Rotary Club’s scholarship recipients, said Steve DiMuzio, president of the Casa Grande Rotary Club

There are two elements to this year’s online event — raffle ticket sales in which the top prize is $5,000 and an online auction with dozens of prizes.

Participants may purchase raffle tickets, bid on dozens of auction items or donate online on a special website set up for the fundraiser, cgrotaryauction.org.

Some of the auction items available this year are:

  • A seven-night stay at the Hilton Grand in Honolulu
  • A villa three-night stay at Desert Club Resort in Las Vegas
  • An Apple iPad
  • A Lenovo Chromebook
  • Golf packages
  • A 60-inch smart television
  • Jewelry
  • An orthodontic package valued at $5,000
  • Soccer camp packages

“More items are being added to the auction every day,” DiMuzio said. “Anyone can go on the website to see what’s available.”

Raffle tickets for the $5,000 cash prize are $25 each or five for $100.

This year, the sponsor of the event is Jerry Seiner Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, which last year purchased the Henry Brown auto group in Casa Grande.

“What’s neat about that is that when the fundraiser was started 36 years ago, Gary Cooper Chevrolet was the big sponsor. That dealership then became the Henry Brown dealership and now, it’s the Jerry Seiner dealership,” DiMuzio said.

Other sponsors include CoreCivic and Al & Riley’s Air Condition and Sheet Metal.

Over the past 35 years, Casa Grande Rotary has given away more than $1.35 million to area college-bound students as well as about $188,000 to the local Boys & Girls Clubs. The organization has also begun a meals program, giving thousands of meals over eight months to area families impacted by COVID-19.

While the fundraiser normally is held each year, in 2020, the in-person event was canceled, although the organization had raised enough money to give away about $50,000 in scholarships to 22 area students.

The committee members arranging this year’s fundraiser are:

  • Brian Gardanier
  • Robert Miller
  • Ed van Vianen

“The committee has been doing a great job,” DiMuzio said.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.