With any sort of first-time event there is a level of risk involved and that risk is only amplified when running a fundraiser due to the costs that are often linked to them.
For Trenton High School Athletic Director James Trush, the goal for his most recent “Reverse Raffle” fundraiser was to go outside of the box of traditional fundraising while also providing an entertainment-filled night for those in attendance.
According to the feedback from the 400 people who attended and the roughly $25,000 in revenue that was generated to go toward the weight room, the event can only be seen as a success.
“I was pretty happy with how the event went. For the first go-around to have 400 people there I was happy with the turnout and the majority of the feedback we’ve received has been positive. People had a good time and were already wondering when the next one would be,” Trush said.
Revenue was generated not only through ticket sales and separate raffles throughout the night, but also from a large donation given by Trenton High School alumnus Bill Allen, who wanted to give back to the athletic program in honor of the impact that his former football coaches Jack Castignola, Don Kolcheff and Jim Whiteside had on him while growing up.
“Bill had caught wind of a promotional video that I had made for the event and appreciated the enthusiasm that I had and he decided that he wanted to help. He mentioned the influence that Jack Castignola, Don Kolcheff and Jim Whiteside had on him and how it made him want to give back, so he ended up donating $10,000 to the event.”
While the $25,000 is a great start, the ultimate goal of rebuilding the weight room still has some work to go if the school wants to build a state-of-the-art facility that many competing programs have constructed in recent years.
For a school of Trenton’s size, $150,000 is generally the price tag for a top-of-the-line weight room. That may be a shocking price tag to some, but when considering the benefits and uses that can come from it the number may not feel quite as staggering.
“With the weight room as it is now we’re limited to smaller class sizes and only having the capability of using it during the school week. With a larger facility and a more updated facility, there’s the potential to be able to open it up to those outside of the school and would give us the capacity to handle full physical education classes rather than having a large portion of students working out in the hallway.” Trush said.
Trenton has continually ranked amongst the top schools in the area academically and the athletic programs have traditionally found themselves at the top of their respective standings and leaderboards; the facilities throughout the school are aging rapidly.
The pool that has been home to various district, league and state champions is over 60-years old, the football field remains grass while other schools have long since upgraded to turf and a variety of other facilities need improvement.
“I want to be able to give our kids the best that we are able to. We offer a great education and our athletic teams have had a lot of success, so it’s my goal to be able to remain competitive with other programs in the area in terms of our facilities.”
Fundraisers such as the Reverse Raffle are a great start in achieving that ultimate goal and they are a testament to the community effort that goes in to the success of these events.
“So many people worked behind the scenes to make this event a success and the community as a whole really came together and helped us out to make the first year of this fundraiser a successful one.”
A second Reverse Raffle has not been set as of yet, but based on the success of the first running and the excitement that attendees had experienced, it seems likely that the community as a whole might just force one to happen.