Nearly 1,000 public school supporters turned out to the Sonoma Plaza late last month for the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation's Red & White Ball, raising nearly $100,00 for local schools and handing out a car to a 25-year Sonoma resident as the top raffle prize.
The annual event drew its largest crowd ever, according to organizers, with scores of local food the Sonoma Valley School Gardens, wine from local vintners and music from the likes of the Valley Vibes Orchestra, The Cork Pullers, and Dave Martin’s House Party Band.
Gabrielle Brown, who has lived in Sonoma for 25 years and owns the Sonoma Serenity Home on Carriger Road, a residential care facility for the elderly, won the top raffle prize of a white Fiat 500C POP Cabrio, with a red convertible top. Brown was working the night of the Red & 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 said.
“These funds will help the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation fund high impact programs in all local public schools," SVEF Executive Director Laura Zimmerman said in a statement. "The event will have an impact on every child at every school in the district.”
Last year funds raised were distributed to Exploratorium Science in all local elementary schools, VTS art for elementary students, The School Garden Project, which is now at all public and charter schools, with the gardens now providing produce for the school cafeterias, and the Teacher Support Network Volunteer Program at Sonoma Valley High School, which helps bring 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.
The foundation was launched in 1993 and has raised more than $5 million for the public schools of Sonoma Valley.