The Chattahoochee Tech Foundation got two surprises at its 2018 Reverse Raffle last week.
First, it raised a record amount of money, and second, the raffle winner donated its grand prize back to the hosting organization.
The foundation increased its coffers by more than $46,000 at the annual fundraiser, held Thursday night at Chattahoochee Technical College's North Metro campus in Acworth, and the winner, platinum sponsor Yanmar USA, gave the $5,000 prize money back to the foundation to use for scholarships, emergency funding and program support for CTC students.
“This was the most successful fundraising event in our college history," Director of Alumni and Annual Giving Stephanie Hubbell said. "We raised a record amount of funds, and the whole community really came together to support us. We are so grateful for each and every one of our sponsors and donors.”
Raffle Chairwoman Susan Stephens of Cartersville was thrilled that the winning ticket holder let the prize money stay with the foundation.
"Yanmar had already invested at the top — platinum level — as a sponsor for this event," she said. "It was incredibly generous of them to find a way to give even more. I think we were all holding our breath in anticipation right before the winner was announced."
Unlike a typical raffle, the purchaser of the last ticket drawn in a reverse raffle wins the grand prize. Emcee Louis Tonsmeire of Cartersville announced the names of the final five ticket holders and asked if they would like to split the $5,000 grand prize five ways or continue with the raffle.
As one of the five finalists, Yanmar wanted to go for it all so President Tim Fernandez requested that the raffle continue and announced to the packed house that if the company won, it would give the prize money to the foundation.
"It was really exciting when we got down to the final five ticket holders, and Yanmar wanted to keep the raffle going," Stephens, a foundation board of trustees member, said. "Making it even more exciting was when Yanmar announced they would donate the money back to the foundation if they won."
The crowd erupted as the final ticket was drawn and Tonsmeire announced Yanmar as the winner.
"What an awesome night that we were blessed to be part of," Fernandez, who was one of more than a dozen Yanmar employees in attendance, said in a press release. "It is still hard to believe that we had one ticket in the drawing when they got to the last five tickets. We all believed in what the foundation is doing and wanted a chance to give more."
Fernandez also said the "big winner of the night was going to be the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation."
"It was a very proud night for me to see our team selflessly give back," he said.
Hubbell was understandably ecstatic about who won the raffle, which surpassed the organizers' goal of $35,000 this year.
"Of course, we were absolutely thrilled about Yanmar donating their $5,000 grand prize back to the foundation,” she said. "These proceeds will go a long way to helping change students’ lives at Chattahoochee Tech."
Stephens said the evening was "definitely one of the most exciting fundraising events we’ve ever hosted." "And it certainly was successful," she said. "We were able to raise a record amount of funds that will go directly to helping students at Chattahoochee Tech."
Sponsors of the raffle, which featured a 1970s theme and entertainment provided by former 96 Rock disc jockey Mark McCain, contributed to the foundation $3,500 for the platinum level, $2,500 for the gold level and $1,500 for the silver level.
All funds raised by the nonprofit help make higher education more affordable for CTC students through scholarships, emergency funding and program support. During fiscal year 2018, the foundation awarded more than $130,000 to students to enable them to continue their post-secondary education.
"This popular event has proven to be very significant in supporting our mission to help students,” Hubbell said.
This year's team of sponsors were platinum sponsors WellStar Health System and Yanmar; gold sponsor North Georgia Staffing; and silver sponsors Cobb EMC, Croy Engineering, Georgia Power, Toyo Tire, Vinings Bank, Westside Bank and Woodstock Furniture and Mattress Outlet.
"The Chattahoochee [Tech] Foundation greatly appreciates the support of these sponsors,” board Chairman Jason Anavitarte said in the release. “By helping Chattahoochee Tech students successfully complete their programs of study, we are helping to change lives. Our graduates become vital members of the communities in which they serve, and they become a valuable part of Georgia’s skilled workforce.”