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Community Builders


"G'day mate! How would you like to help the kids and win a trip `down under'?" That was the refrain heard at Western Athletic Clubs (WAC), which promoted a raffle benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

The chain sponsored a "Sydney 2000" drawing in all nine of its clubs (located along the West Coast), offering a trip to the Olympic Games as a grand prize. The prize included round-trip airfare to Australia, Olympic event tickets, seven nights lodging and ground transportation to events.

"Sydney 2000" posters, flyers and other promotions blanketed the clubs as the raffle progressed. "Donation stations" were set up in each club, and entry forms mailed to each member. Hundreds of tickets were sold.

Not to be outdone, WAC's employees clamored to participate. However, since they were ineligible to enter to win, they contributed to a separate raffle held especially for them. The winning employee enjoyed a trip to the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Sacramento, Calif.

In the end, Seattle Athletic Club members Ursula and Tom Macmillan won the trip to the Olympic Games in Sydney. The Macmillans are 10-year members of the club, and accumulated a scrapbook full of memories from their journey (some seen here).

Thousands of dollars were raised in ticket sales, and Western Athletic Clubs matched all contributions. The resulting total donation of $28,500 astounded local Boys and Girls Club chapters.

The raffle's $5,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County in Seattle was enthusiastically received. Chapter President Daniel Johnson thanked WAC for "positively shaping the lives of its 17,000 future citizens and leaders."

WAC's locations in the San Francisco region donated $10,000 to their adopted chapter, the Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club. Columbia Park's Executive Director Jim Richards said, "We had just finished a budget meeting where we learned that a lack of funding for transportation was going to necessitate the elimination of many of our off-site programs. The $10,000 donation from Western Athletic Clubs will go a long way in ensuring the continuation of many special programs we have planned this year."

Jim Gerber, WAC's president, was also pleased with the fund-raiser's outcome. "Our simple raffle has gone a long way toward building community in the areas in which we live, work and play," he remarked.

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