A Virtual Fundraiser
A few weeks ago, my club, the Del Mar/Solana Beach club (DMSB), held a virtual fundraiser. Here is the rest of the story.
Twenty-four years ago, the nascent four-year old club made an important decision - to put on a fundraiser that would bring the community together for a day of fun and fun(d)raising to benefit people who were in need and underserved.
The means was a bocce tournament (not to be confused with former San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy). Bocce is a bowling sport developed centuries ago in Italy. It is played by two person teams competing against each other. The ball is made of wood and about the same size of a large softball. You can see bocce played at the beach and parks. For the uninitiated, bocce is a ruthless, brutal competitive activity. There is a saying among the aficionados and players: that they once went to a boxing match and bocce tournament broke out.
Speaking of which, the first DMSB bocce tournament was held at the La Colonia Park in Solana Beach. It took a few years for the game, tournament and festivities to grow in popularity. But it did and the venue was not large enough to hold everyone.
The tournament moved to the Horse Park just east of I-5 on Via de la Valle. This proved to be winner as there were more amenities to accommodate the needs of the patrons, players and Rotarians. Horse Park was an interesting venue because when the tournament was going on, one could turn around and watch the horses being trained for dressage horse competition and exhibitions. There is nothing like the smell of horses in the morning.
Again, the Bocce tournament grew in size and popularity. More courts were needed to make way for the additional players and teams. The polo field across the street from the Horse Park was selected to host the tournament. This site gave us more room for the courts, corporate and VIP tents for major sponsors to entertain their employees, family and friends.
Over the last few years, a craft beer tasting component was added to enhance the day. San Diego is the Napa Valley of micro breweries. Under the leadership of Malcolm Koll, owner of View Point Brewery, around fifteen local micro breweries entered their latest beers in a contest judged by real beer experts like me.

Among the beneficiaries that have been served by the proceeds of the bocce over the years are: Reality Changers, Just In Time For Foster Youth, Community Resource Center, Solutions for Change, Amistad, Veterans Village, Feeding San Diego and Hope Without Boundaries.
For all the good work the club has done over the years, we faced a crises when the Bocce tournament was canceled as a result of the pandemic. How could we continue to support those who needed our support now more than ever? Long time member, and driving force of the Bocce tournament, Charles Foster, floated the idea that we have continue to have the fundraiser without the tournament. A letter was sent to past donors and supporters of Bocce. The membership led the way by pledging to match or increase their contributions as they had before.
A Celebration of Giving was held recognizing the generous gifts by sponsors as well as testimonial by beneficiaries who spoke of how their lives were positively impacted by the good works of Rotary. It was a very moving hour that was presented virtually and live by Zoom.
The net effect was that support for these beneficiaries continued despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic. Over $43,000 was raised in about six weeks and the good work of Rotary and Rotarians continued.

Other clubs in the District are doing similar types of fundraising as well. The Del Mar Club held it annual Sunset Soiree in May virtually under the guidance and leadership of Dugan Lamoise. Dugan engaged her theatrical and musical community to provide the entertainment for those participating by Zoom. The club raised close to $45,000.
The Rotary Club of Carlsbad and the Hi Noon Club of Carlsbad have traditionally held an all-day Oktober Fest at the Holiday Park. But, because of the pandemic, they are supporting the local restaurants by providing a 15% discount for those who buy their meals from the local restaurants. And they are continuing to raise money to allocate for their beneficiaries. The expectation is that this form of fund raising will yield over $50,000.
This is what we do in Rotary. We find a way to serve. We find a way to lift up our community.

Please email me your club’s story. I will highlight them in a future Sunday Morning Musing.