For the first time ever, the booster organizations at both Vintage High and Napa High joined forces to fund-raise for their athletic programs.

Hanlees Automotive of Napa graciously donated a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta that was raffled off at this year’s football Big Game on Nov. 1.

Athletes from both schools sold $20 raffle tickets throughout the months of September and October in the Napa community and beyond. The team effort resulted in a total of $165,000 being raised for their athletic programs. Each school sold a certain amount of tickets and the dollars they raised went to their specific athletic program. Throughout the fall, athletes could be seen at Browns Valley Market, the Farmers Market, Yountville Days and many other locations selling tickets on Saturday and Sundays.

The idea came from Vintage graduate Betsy Biermann, a former athletic booster club president at Pleasant Valley High in Chico. She shared the idea and details of their fundraiser with her friend, Napa High alumnus Lisa Ghisletta, with the thought that it could work well in the Napa Valley as well.

Ghisletta invited Biermann to share the idea with booster club members and Vintage Athletic Boosters President Katie Aaron.

The value of the fundraising model shared was jointly agreed to be a positive for both high schools. Both women are actively involved parents at the local high schools who coordinated the efforts of the car raffle. The two booster clubs met in July to lay out the plan of action for the inaugural joint fundraiser effort after a car donation was solidified from Hanlees.

The athletic budgets at both schools are covered mostly by donations raised throughout the year at the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open, membership sales, sponsorships, crab feeds and concessions. This new fundraiser will help supplement the budgets that cover things such as uniforms, equipment, assistant coaches’ stipends, tournament fees, field upgrades and overnight travel expenses. The district covers head coaches’ stipends, most field upkeep and transportation. Both booster clubs have annual budgets of $300,000 to help keep the athletic programs alive.

“We are thankful to the Napa community for supporting Napa and Vintage high school athletic programs through the Big Game Car Raffle,” Napa High principal Monica Ready said. “The partnership with local businesses and families allows us to have successful athletic programs that support hundreds of student athletes across multiple sports. We are grateful that we live in a community that believes in our schools and comes together to support our student athletes.”

The fundraiser was an opportunity for student-athletes to practice their communication skills.

“It was a great opportunity for the programs to work together in a community fundraising campaign where the athletes took an active role in bringing awareness to the needs of their athletic programs by selling tickets out in the community,” Aaron said. “I am all about getting kids involved. It makes them value the efforts of the athletic booster clubs a bit more.”

Throughout the fall months, Hanlees allowed for the Jetta to be on display at Memorial Stadium so that patrons could see the car and become aware of the fundraising efforts taking place. The groups used marketing efforts such as social media and direct email campaigns, radio and TV interviews, along with team representatives from each sports team helping promote sales in their school communities and beyond.

“Businesses supporting our athletes are making a positive contribution to our community,” said Ghisletta. “During this fundraiser someone told me, ‘This fundraiser has done something immeasurably positive for our two high schools and the community.’ The donation of the car to our booster clubs allowed this fundraiser to happen. It brought our community together, and it showed how working together can have great rewards.

“The donation, sponsorship and promotion from Hanlees, BPX Printing & Graphics, KVON, The Market Place, Darla Aaron and the businesses that allowed our student athletes to sell at their site shows that they understand the impact and importance of athletics and the development of our future adults in our community. It builds loyalty with the businesses that support our programs. It allows our programs to not only exist, but to thrive. It is a win-win for both the teams and the sponsors.”

In front of a packed Big Game crowd at Memorial Stadium, KTVU Fox Channel 2 Sports Director Mark Ibanez, Hanlees Director of Sales Operations Jim Totah, and representatives from each school met on the field at halftime to announce the lucky winner.

Totah pulled the winning ticket purchased by Jeri De La Torre of Boise, Idaho, who happens to be the aunt of Vintage volleyball standout Maddie Klungel.

Vintage Athletic Director Cam Neal said the campaign “was a genuine representation of how strong our Napa Valley community is and why I am so proud to live here. The support for both schools over the last few months, and in general, is and has always been very humbling. Thank you to all that bought a raffle ticket and we look forward to doing this event again next year.”

The schools plan to keep the joint campaign a part of their annual fundraising strategic plan due to the successful result of this business-school partnership supporting their communities.

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