Tom Brooks
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Conceptual Playground Drawing - Final Version May Vary

The odds are perfect that patrons of Richardson East Rotary Club’s Rotary Cares – Games and Gala will have a great time while raising money for worthwhile local and worldwide causes.

The club will host its 21st annual fund raiser at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Parish Center of St. Paul the Apostle Church, entertaining more than 400 patrons with great food, casino-style games, a silent auction, a retro arcade game tournament, other games of chance and entertainment by the Ray Johnston Band.

“The event is a fun time, but the results go deeper when we give away money earned because of the generosity of our patrons,” said Scott Zimmerman, chairman of the event.

The biggest beneficiaries of the fundraiser are graduating seniors from the Richardson Independent School District, who see the results in the form of college scholarships.

New Cause This Year

The club’s newest project is a partnership with the City of Richardson to build an inclusive playground at Cottonwood Park. The club is involved with design and promotion of the park and will host an annual picnic to promote it. The park will be designed to facilitate creative play for people with a wide variety of abilities and ages at the same facility. Richardson East Rotary Club will further enhance the experience with construction and maintenance of a garden adjacent to the playground.

The drawing above is a preliminary rendering of what an inclusive playground might look like at Cottonwood Park.

The club also contributes in other ways to RISD schools, plus donates to the Rotary Dental Clinic, YMCA, The Counseling Center, the Network of Community Ministries, Richardson Adult Literacy Center and other local and international efforts.

The 2016 event set records for fundraising and the club wants to top that this year.

“Our members work very hard for months to plan and conduct this event,” said Bill Zeigler, president of Richardson East Rotary Club. “The best part is later this spring when we gather our patrons, sponsors, scholarship recipients and local charities together in one big room and give away the money we raised thanks to the generosity of our community.”

Community businesses and merchants donate the Silent Auction items. Also, businesses in the area buy sponsorships at various levels to contribute a large portion of the funds raised.

New this year, the club has contracted with Auction Source to handle the auction bidding electronically on tablets spread throughout the venue. Bids can be monitored without leaving gaming tables and checkout will be fast at the end of the evening.

Besides local charities, Richardson East Rotary contributes to Rotary International projects. The signature international project is PolioPlus, an effort launched in 1985 to rid the world of polio. Since the effort’s inception, the crippling disease has been eradicated from dozens of countries. Currently, the polio virus is isolated in just two countries.

Richardson East Rotary also contributes to international clean water projects and the Wheelchair Foundation. Using the partnership between Rotary and the Wheelchair Foundation, the club is responsible for placing more than 1,400 new, sturdy wheelchairs around the world.

The silent auction will include items in every price range. Items include gift cards for local restaurants, sports memorabilia, jewelry (both costume and custom-designed pieces), sports tickets, a custom golf cart and a vacation house rental in Aspen.

Tickets are $50 each, which includes dinner, drinks and snacks during the evening, a gambling stake, live music, several other games of chance and the opportunity to bid on items in the silent auction.

For more information, tickets, and sponsorships go to the event site at

For more information on this news release, contact Tom Brooks at 214-415-2551 or

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