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CEF car raffle heads to the home stretch

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Claremont Education Foundation’s annual car raffle is in full swing, and the big day when one lucky ticket holder will win a new car is just around the corner.

This year represents a new chapter for the raffle with a change in dealership partners from Claremont Toyota to Rotolo Chevrolet in Fontana and Caposio Buick in Victorville. CEF had previously raffled off several Priuses and a RAV 4, while this year the grand prize will be a new Buick Encore, valued at $27,000, plus a special baseball winner’s package.

Fans of the Dodgers will be excited to learn that pitcher Orel Hershiser, who is a partner in the dealerships, will draw the winner’s name during a baseball-themed Encore raffle party at the Claremont High School baseball field.

Hershiser played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball, 12 with the Dodgers, including 1988, when Los Angeles won the World Series. His performance in 1988 earned Hershiser the National League World Series MVP, Gold Glove award and the National League Cy Young award, presented annually to the best pitcher in the league.

Hershiser said he really appreciated Caposio Buick’s commitment to giving back to the community whether it’s two blocks from the dealership or a hundred miles.

“We love the fact that there is a heart connection with Eddie. We love the fact that Mike’s heart has been great throughout the years of business. And for me, what I have done with the Dodgers in the LA community. I felt really connected to these guys right away, when I joined the team. And anything to do with kids and schools and supporting the area is fantastic,” Hershiser said.

In addition to Hershiser, the donors of the Encore are principal owner Mike Caposio and his partners Eddie Allizadeh and Nick Thumar.

Claremont’s connection comes through Allizadeh, who grew up in town and is a CHS graduate and current resident of the City of Trees.

Although the partners at Caposio and Rotolo were committed to participating in the raffle, the pandemic threw a wrench in the works with ongoing supply chain issues. Up until a few weeks ago the dealerships were still unable to come up with a car.

“At the time when we were approached with this, and every dealership was in the same boat, we just didn’t have any vehicles on the lot,” Allizadeh said. “But we wanted to commit to something and we knew it was happening in June.”

Finally, they came up with a black on black Encore, which Allizadeh says is the high line product on the Buick side of GM

“It’s beautiful and we are blessed to be able to give that to someone who has contributed to this raffle,” he said.

The car raffle brings in about 40% to 50% of the money CEF raises each year, all of which goes into the budget the organization uses to fund projects at Claremont’s public schools. According to its website, CEF has donated $165,000 so far in 2021 and 2022, including $92,000 for art and music education and $72,500 in access to technology.

“At last count we raised over $300,000 over the last decade or so [through the raffle], and that is a pretty big chunk of what we raise in our fundraising events,” said John Heitkemper, the current board president.

“We are super excited to be teaming with Orel and Mike and Eddie this year, it’s a little bit of a change up for us in terms of our partnership but we are super excited.”

Tickets are $20 each or six for $100 and can be purchased at the dealerships, from any board member, at Vom Fass and at the school district office. Residents are invited to stop by the Claremont Educational Foundation booth at farmers market in the Village this Sunday where tickets will be on sale and the Encore will be on display.

“We are just trying to get the word out that the ticket drawing event will be a spectacular event. We are trying to get as many people there as possible tickets will be available. Orel will be drawing the winning ticket so it should be a wonderful event,” Heitkemper said.

“We will be selling tickets through the time of the drawing.”

The CEF Encore drawing will be take place next Saturday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CHS baseball diamond. While tickets will be sold up until the drawing, they may sell out before then. The raffle is open to all persons 18 and over, who are legal U.S. residents physically residing in the United States. For more info visit supportcef.com/raffle.

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