Rotary Club preparing for its St. Patrick’s fundraiser |

Rotary Club preparing for its St. Patrick’s fundraiser

Brian Williams / Special to the Tribune

The Irish are coming! The Irish are coming!

With March approaching, minds turn to anticipation of warmer weather as many prepare to shake off various levels of cabin fever and winter doldrums. There’s one traditional March event that locals embrace to celebrate the coming “Rite of Spring.”

Many say the Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club’s annual St. Patrick’s Wine Tasting, Corned Beef Feed and Silent Auction is the party of the season ” the “Spring Fling” for local gentry. The 2008 fundraiser will begin at 6 p.m. March 15 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

“It’s a chance to go out and kick up your heels after a long winter,” said Ryder Evans, event chairman. You’ll have a great dinner, sample some excellent wines and get the opportunity to bid on tons of awesome vacations and other wonderful items in our famous silent auction. Plus attendees get the chance to win the evening’s grand prize ” a Christmas week vacation in Hawaii.”

While the Tahoe Douglas Rotary is committed to a fun evening for all, its main goal is to raise money through the event for the club’s various projects throughout the year. The majority of funds are earmarked for Rotary’s student scholarships and yearly grant contributions to local nonprofits.

According to the club’s president, Joe Zarachoff, money raised from the St. Patrick’s Day celebration is funneled back into the South Shore community.

“We encourage local agencies and organizations to apply for donations from the club. These requests are reviewed by our board of directors, and approved requests are awarded a grant,” Zarachoff said.

Past grant recipients have ranged from the local chapter of the American Association of University Women for their Tech Trek program for seventh-grade girls in the South Shore area to the Tahoe Arts Project for their cultural enrichment programs.

The El Dorado County CASA program and Austin’s House, the Carson Valley Children’s Center, have received funding from the Rotary.

Terry Palmitier, co-founder and executive secretary of CVCC in Minden, said: “If it weren’t for the Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club, our organization might not have come into existence. TDRC awarded us initial seed money funding of $30,000 that allowed us to move forward in building our emergency shelter for children.”

On an average, more than 600 people attend the St. Patrick’s Wine Tasting and Corned Beef Feed Dinner at Harrah’s. And while net sales from attendee tickets are significant, the event’s silent auction is the cornerstone of the evening.

Event chairman Evans claims they traditionally offer an amazing lineup of items and services to bid on, including dozens of vacation lodging packages from around the country courtesy of the Hilton/Embassy Suites organization.

“The contribution of the auction items from the local business community is the critical factor of our success. We turn your auction donations into cash and recycle it back to the needs of our community. That’s a win-win,” Evans said.

Evans also said that any business donating an auction item with a retail value of $400 or more gets two complimentary tickets to this year’s St. Patrick’s Celebration.

Rotary itself, as an international organization, is 103 years young.

The Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club, like most of the other 33,000 Rotary Clubs throughout the world, do much more than contribute funds to needy organizations. In its 40-plus years of charter, members of the Tahoe Douglas Rotary frequently have rolled up their sleeves to contribute “sweat equity” in a wide variety of community betterment projects.

Purchasing and installation of equipment at Kahle Park, Zephyr Cove Park and Brautovich Park are three of the club’s projects.

Most recently, TDRC has collaborated with the South Lake Tahoe Rotary Club to build bus-stop shelters and install cabinets at the Family Resource Center.

And individual members of the Tahoe Douglas Club currently are working on humanitarian projects in Africa and Asia.

The Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club meets at noon every Friday at the MontBleu Resort Convention Center.

For more information about the club or its St. Patrick’s fundraiser, contact Ryder Evans at (775) 762-9800.

The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self,” and it feels so good to give back to the citizens of Lake Tahoe. In 2006, under the leadership of Rotarians Tim Buscher and Bob Colvin, the Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club distributed financial contributions totaling $32,500 to the following:

— American Association of University Women: $500 for Tech Trek program for seventh-grade girls.

— Animal Coalition of Tahoe: $1,000 to help control the pet population in the South Lake Tahoe area.

— American Youth Soccer Organization: $500 for scholarships for players who cannot afford the costs.

— Barton Memorial Hospital Foundation: $500 to help maintain the highest level of health and wellness care.

— CASA of El Dorado: $1,000 for child advocacy programs.

— Carson Valley Children’s Center: $2,000 for Austin’s House.

— Cub Scout Pack 468: $500 for continuing assistance for local Cub Scouts.

— Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue: $1,000 to improve radio communication equipment.

— Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada: $500 to support programs.

— HERO Scholarship: $500 for deserving students who have overcome great obstacles.

— Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation: $1,000 for a single-parent scholarship.

— Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation: $1,500 for Great Winter Clothing Giveaway.

— Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation: $1,000 for Kids College scholarship money for children in financial need.

— LTUSD Drug Store Project: $1,000 to help educate children about the dancers of drug use.

— Partnership of Community Resources: $1,000 for Douglas County abuse and wellness coalition.

— Sierra Recovery Center: $1,000 to help raise $62,000 for client care and substance abuse treatment.

— South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center: $2,000 to help serve the Latino community.

— South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center: $2,000 to improve the emotional, social and economic condition of women and families in crisis within the community.

— Tahoe Arts Project: $500 to provide cultural enrichment and diversity at Lake Tahoe.

— Tahoe Douglas ASA Softball: $500 for new batting helmets.

— Tahoe Youth and Family Services: $1,000 to support and counsel youth and provide assistance.

— Water for People: $1,500 to provide clean water to save lives.

— Zephyr Cove Elementary School Parents Club: $500 to help grant all teachers money for classroom supplies.

— College scholarships to 11 Whittell High School seniors: $9,000 to help educate students.

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