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Red and White Ball raises almost $100K

GABRIELLE BROWN accepts the keys from Laura Zimmerman of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, to the Fiat 500C Pop Cabrio convertible she won at the Red and White Ball on Aug. 24.

GABRIELLE BROWN accepts the keys from Laura Zimmerman of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, to the Fiat 500C Pop Cabrio convertible she won at the Red and White Ball on Aug. 24.

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Sonoma’s annual Red and White Ball raised nearly $100,000 for the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation on Aug. 24. The community party drew 950 guests, who danced on the Plaza in support of Sonoma Valley’s public schools.

Once again, the event included a raffle for a sporty new 2013 Fiat 500C Pop Cabrio convertible, which went to lucky ticket-holder Gabrielle Brown. She is the owner of Sonoma Serenity Home on Carriger Road, a residential care facility for the elderly. Brown bought two raffle tickets, both at Sonoma Market. She had to work the night of the Red and White Ball and forgot about the raffle until she received the call from the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation that she was the winner. “I never expected to win, and this just means so much to me. It is so very special,” Brown exclaimed.

Ever since she got the brand new 2013 Fiat convertible, she has been celebrating with her residents and her friends. She is already planning to volunteer to help local schools as a way to show her gratitude. She will be volunteering this Friday, Sept. 20, at the Charity Auction Dinner before the 27th annual B.R. Cohn Charity Events Fall Music Festival. Proceeds from this year’s festival will be spread among several charities, including the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation.

The Red and White Ball featured delectable food including treats from the Sonoma Valley school gardens and generous local vintners donated more than 51 cases of Sonoma Valley wines for the occasion. The Valley Vibes Orchestra, the Cork Pullers and Dave Martin’s House Party Band kept the party going with music all evening. More than 100 people volunteered at the ball, including many school employees, teachers and parents. The evening’s “fund-a-need” drew donations from 100 guests.

“These funds will help the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation fund high impact programs in all local public schools. The event will have an impact on every child at every school in the district,” said foundation Executive Director Laura Zimmerman.

Last year funds raised were distributed to Exploratorium Science in all local elementary schools; Visual Thinking Strategies for elementary students; the School Garden Project, which is now at all public and charter schools, where the gardens now provide produce for the school cafeterias; and the Teacher Support Network Volunteer Program at Sonoma Valley High School that brings more than 50 volunteers to the high school each week to assist in both academic and elective classes as well as in the administration office and the College and Career Center. Also, Red and White Ball funds were shared with the Parent Teacher Organizations at each school and the Sonoma Valley High School Boosters Club.

Since 1993, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation has raised more than $5 million for the public schools of Sonoma Valley. The purpose of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation is to fund programs that help the Sonoma Valley Unified School District make sure every student graduates well prepared for college, career and civic responsibility. In addition to the aforementioned programs, the foundation also supports Preschool for All, El Sistema Music, Summer Scholars and College and Career Readiness at Sonoma Valley High School.

Visit the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation online at svgreatschools.org or call 935-9566.