Tom Brooks
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Greg Baxter of Garland flashes his winning ace. Photo by Jeff Smith

By Tom Brooks


More than 400 patrons packed the ballroom for Richardson East Rotary Club’s 19th Annual Casino Party, helping the club score a great fund-raising level for college scholarships and the other charities and programs the club supports.

The party-goers gathered at the Richardson Civic Center Jan. 30 and ate tasty barbecue before hitting the charity gaming tables and silent auction.

“It is hard to imagine a fund raising event getting better and better after 19 years, but this one has,” said D Schieferstein, chairman of the 2015 event. “At Denim and Diamonds this year, we added new games, sold more tickets, had the largest number of sponsors and had a great silent auction.  We are able to give back to the community in a significant way. Can it get any better?”

The club’s various charities include college scholarships for Richardson ISD students, the Rotary Dental Clinic, wheelchairs for those who can’t afford them around the world, several local nonprofits and the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio.

Final costs and revenue figures are still being tallied.

“Our event proved to be among the biggest and best in the club’s history,” said Kathy Higgins, club president. “I want to give a special thanks to the Richardson East Rotary members, the leadership of the Casino committee and the entire Richardson Community for making this event a huge success.”

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

Another major beneficiary is the Rotary Dental Clinic, which opened in 2010 as a joint partnership between the Network of Community Ministries and Richardson’s three Rotary clubs. Richardson East Rotary Club has taken special pride in the clinic because the founders are two members of the club, Doug Crosby and Mark Denny. The two dentists grew up in Richardson and graduated from J.J. Pearce High School.

For the price of the ticket, party goers enjoyed dinner, liquid refreshment for the night, snacks and a “gambling” stake for the Casino games.  Local companies underwrite the event with sponsorships. More funds were raised in a silent auction of goods and services donated by members of the community.

In addition to local charities, Richardson East Rotary Club contributes to Rotary International projects. The signature project is PolioPlus, an effort launched in 1985 to rid the world of polio. Since its inception, the crippling disease has been eradicated from all but three 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 1,200 new, sturdy wheelchairs with needy users around the world.

-For more information contact Tom Brooks, PR Chairman of the Richardson East Rotary Club. 214-415-2551, or email:

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