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Joice Beatty at the 2017 Kentucky Derby Day

The late Joice Beatty sports her Kentucky derby hat at the St. Helena Rotary Club’s 2017 Kentucky Derby fund raiser. Beatty died Nov. 14, 2017 at the age of 74.

The St. Helena Rotary Club is a team of local leaders committed to serving the St. Helena and Greater Napa Valley community. Every year the club raises funds for local nonprofits.

A highlight of the Rotarian fundraising year since 2016 has been a Kentucky Derby-themed party on Derby Day to benefit St. Helena Preschool for All. “Kind of like a Super Bowl party has to be on Super Bowl Sunday,” said Roxann Schaubhut, one of the creators of the event.

This year, the Cameo Cinema is the venue for the event, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5. Tickets are $65 per person. Break out your best hat because there will be a contest for best hat and best male derby style. Bring your checkbook for the silent auction, and an appetite for the Southern food. Be prepared for a good time while you watch the Kentucky Derby on the big screen.

The first Derby party raised $12,000. The 2017 party raised $14,000 plus a Rotary member contributed an additional $4,500 after the party. This year, Jennifer Lamb and Herb Lamb Vineyards will provide a matching grant of $5,000.

For the 2018 school year, St. Helena Preschool for All seeks to raise $100,000. That will provide about 20 scholarships. The average costs for a 10-month program is about $4,500.

St. Helena Preschool for All is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving children in St. Helena an opportunity to attend preschool that they might not otherwise have. The organization is not a preschool itself. It currently partners with five preschools, by providing scholarships so children ages 3 and 4 can experience preschool to prepare them for kindergarten and the academic school years to follow.

The Rotary Club’s fundraiser was the idea of Schaubhut and former St. Helena Rotary President Joice Beatty, who died Nov. 14, 2017 at the age of 74. Beatty chose the theme. This year the Derby Day fund raiser is dedicated to her.

Beatty’s housekeeper told her about the program, how great it was, and how much it had benefited her son. Inspired by that story, Beatty and Schaubhut reached out to the organization to see how Rotary could benefit it. Julio Olguin, executive director for St. Helena Preschool for All, said, “It was one of those connections made by our families, who really can speak first-hand about the positive impact on their children and families.”

Schaubhut had created a similar event to raise money for Rotary’s polio eradication program when she was a member of the Rotary Club of Bay Shore, N.Y.

Tickets can be reserved by contacting Schaubhut at roxann@exede.net or 965-9131 or John Muhlner at jbmuhlner@earthlink.net or 963-6166. Attendees can also pay at the door. Rotarians may charge their accounts. Checks can be sent to St. Helena Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 211, St. Helena, CA 94574.

If you can’t attend but would like to contribute to the scholarship program, individual donations may be sent to St. Helena Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 211, St. Helena, CA 94574, or St. Helena Preschool For All, 465 Main St., St. Helena CA, 94574. You can also donate online at shpreschoolforall.org.

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