How Do Denver Charities Rank And Which Ones Are The Strongest?

Charitable organizations everywhere are subject to many comparisons, ratings, rankings and more as they are held to a high standard. Denver’s charities overall rank rather well on all accounts. One source takes the largest 30 cities in the US and ranks the financial health of the largest charities in those cities. The cities get their ranking, and the charities get their rankings, too.

For example, most recently and according to just one source on the matter, Denver is currently ranked #11 out of those top 30 largest US cities when it comes to charities. That is a good ranking, and then you can also start to look at the individual charities. These charitable organizations are held to high standards, and they are supposed to be very transparent, so that means there can be quite a bit of data.

One thing that you notice right away is that the financial strength of the charities as mentioned doesn’t just rank well but it is above average. That is looking at them all together though. Moreover, one thing looking at the strong chairtable organizations in Denver also shoes you that charities that take in more also often have extra expenses. That means that these charities must really manage that extra money well and that it’s not just about how much a charity takes in to help others.

It is also about how much of each dollar goes towards the cause, and not all of the charitable organizations make people happy when it comes to that percentage. Would Denver Charity be any different? Some of them would for sure, as there are great charities out there. What are some of the charities in Denver that rank near the top? One of them is the American Indian College Fund, and then there is Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Denver Art Museum and Mercy Housing, just to name a few.

The ones mentioned are some of the strongest financially speaking, so that’s a good quick look at Top Denver Charities. There are quite a few that rank highly though, so let’s name some more. There is the Morris Animal Foundation, Denver Botanic Gardens, Project Angel Heart and Water for People. Maybe you have been wanting to selecting one or more Denver charities to give to, and now you have some healthy charitable organizations to choose from as you make your donations this year to good causes.

Child’s lemonade stand shut down for no permit

Credit: KCNC, Jennifer Knowles via CNN

Two boys selling lemonade for charity in Denver got their stand shut down because they didn’t have a permit.

"It was a beautiful weekend, beautiful weather, so we thought, ‘Why not have a lemonade stand?’" said Jennifer Knowles, the boys’ mother.

When Knowles helped her sons set up their first lemonade stand over the weekend, she thought it would be a lesson in entrepreneurship and charity.

But, she got an unexpected lesson, too.

"Someone complained about our lemonade stand," Knowles said.

It turns out, you need a permit to operate a lemonade stand in Denver. The city says it’s about health and safety, no matter the age of the operator.

However, in this case, competition may also be in play.

"We had never thought other lemonade vendors could feel threatened by our little kid lemonade stand," said Knowles.

The stand was set up right next to the Denver Arts Festival, and a lemonade vendor.

Knowles understood why someone would be upset, given the circumstances. The vendor was selling lemonade for $7 a glass versus their two cups for a dollar.

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and that’s exactly what Knowles plans to do.

She plans to ask the city to waive permits in the future for kids’ lemonade stands when another isn’t nearby.

"In hindsight, we would have never set up where we did when we did, and we would have done it another time, and lesson learned," said Knowles.

She said her sons raised about $200 for charity before police shut the stand down.

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Are charity credit cards the best way to contribute to organizations?

Wanting a hassle-free way to donate to charity? Charity credit cards offer reward points every time you use your credit card, and then give that cash-back to charity.

But we found you need to do some research if you want to make the most of your donation.

“The Susan G Komen charity card is a big one out there and it’s an example of a bank working with a charity to specifically promote that particular charity and it will even give you a little bit of a bonus after you spend a certain amount on that card,” said Matt Shultz with CreditCards.com.

There are some cards that are specific to certain charities like Bank of American’s Susan G. Komen credit card. “Then there are other cards like Charity Charge by Master Card which gives you 1 percent cash back on everything you spend," said Shultz.

The Charity Charge credit card will take 1 percent cash back and put it toward the charity of your choice. But, Shultz said not all charity credit cards give the same way.

“When you’re considering getting a charity credit card make sure you understand how much value you’re going to get back and how much money will be donated to that charity,” said Shultz.

You need to find out exactly how much money from your purchases gets donated to the charity and how that money is being used at the charity.

“Charity credit cards can be worth it but a lot of the time you are really better off getting a general purpose credit card that might give you 2 percent cash back on everything you buy and then you can take that cash back that you earn and write that to your charity," said Shultz.

If you decide to take that route and skip the charity credit card all together, Schultz recommends the Chase Freedom Card. It will give you more money cash back then your charity credit card reward points would be donating.

“When you’re looking to donate to a charity it’s not really about making things as convenient for you it’s about getting things done and raising money for the charity that you believe so much in,” said Shultz.

In the end, Shultz said if giving the most amount of money to a charity is important, look at getting a traditional credit card and mailing the cash back money to the charity yourself.

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Global investment bank investing in local charities

The Janus Henderson Foundation, the charity arm of Janus Henderson Investments, is awarding thousands of dollars to local, national and international charity groups as part of their annual "Charity Challenge" event on Tuesday.

Local celebrities from the Denver community will watch presentations from Janus Henderson employees representing charitable groups all hoping their team being awarded the grand prize. Last year’s top awardees were Camp Boggy Creek and the charity took home $75,000.

"Through our partnership with Campy Boggy Creek, funding from Janus Henderson has enabled them to help children living with serious illness, develop friendships, life skills and strong social support systems through their therapeutic camp program," Janus Henderson said. "This program ensures children with serious illness gain or regain skills and understanding of their own abilities so they are able to make informed decisions in other aspects of their lives outside of the camp."

9NEWS traffic anchor Amelia Earhart participated as a judge last year and she chose Operation Underground Railroad as her top charity.

"The Foundation donated $45,000 to Operation Underground Railroad," Janus Henderson said. "This funding is allowing the organization to pave the way for the permanent eradication child sex trafficking through coordinated rescues and recovery planning. Since inception in 2013, they have rescued over 1,000 victims and arrested more than 443 traffickers around the world."

To learn more about the Foundation and how to get involved, visit the Janus Henderson Foundation website.

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Former Sunnyside Catholic Charities office is now a mixed-use development (Photos) – Denver Business Journal

What used to be the Catholic Charities office in Sunnyside is now a mixed-use development.

HM Capital redeveloped the building and surrounding parking lots into a project called Block Forty45, which includes both residential and commercial space.

Located at 4045 Pecos St., the development includes 33 rowhomes and office and retail space.

The first floor of the building has 10 private offices and two retail spaces leased — to a cycle bar and a brewery.

Twenty-one co-working offices occupy the second floor with "hot" and permanent desks.

According to Nina Khosarvi, community director of Block Forty45, more than 16 companies have already committed to the co-working space.

The 33 rowhomes have broken ground, and will be available for pre-leasing in the fall.

“Nestled in between the Highlands, LOHI, and downtown, we couldn’t imagine a better spot to open up Block Forty45 than Sunnyside," Khosarvi said. "With the neighborhood’s eclectic mix of historical bungalows, modern homes, and new commercial developments, we think that Sunnyside is without a doubt, Denver’s next up-and-coming neighborhood."

Khosarvi said that the area offers residents a place to live, work and play without the "hassle" of going downtown.

"With the sense of community at the heart of everything we do, our focus is to help companies in our building connect, grow and thrive," she added.

The community opens its doors Tuesday.

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Roosevelt students raise money for charity to win prom king and queen

On Saturday night, one lucky guy or gal will be crowned prom king and queen at Roosevelt High School. But the winners are not decided by popular vote.

“We don’t do this as a popularity contest here at Roosevelt,” said Katie Davidson, a teacher at Roosevelt. “The tradition is giving back to our community."

The diverse group of students, who are running for prom king and queen, are raising money for their charity, and whoever raises the most will win.

“The focus is not about that crown and that sash,” she said. “It is about their charity and giving back, and leaving this school with a better purpose."

Each one of the six students has a personal reason for selecting their charity. Devon Smith and Koyanna Booker are the only couple in the group and are running together. The lovebirds are tackling food insecurity. Their charity is the Children’s Hunger Fund.

"I am trying to make something change, no more hunger,” Smith said. “Because where I grew up, things were different from other people who are wealthier."

The students said that the hard work of raising money has taught them a lot.

“You are not being selfish,” Booker said. “You are doing something that you really want, but you are also helping a lot of people and it impacts a lot of people’s lives."

Yvonne Clark is raising awareness and funds for Bikers Against Child Abuse.

"I have a lot of experience with abuse, and my mom used to be a biker as well,” she said. “So, it is a two-in-one for me."

Hannah Hardy is raising money for Judi’s House based in Denver.

"In 2009, my father passed away of an enlarged heart,” she said. “And it’s not an easy life losing a parent. What that organization does is they take these kids and the widowers and they show them that there is happiness."

Student Jennifer Jett’s charity is Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

"I like the idea of making people happy, especially when they’re not feeling well,” she said.

Every girl loves a crown but for them, it is not about who takes it.

"I feel like this is more of an experience instead of winning the crown because I feel like we are all winners,” Hardy said.

Miguel Castro is a debater at the school, and his cause the Family Service Association of San Antonio. He says that the non-profit was there for him during a rough patch in his life.

“During the fifth grade, my parents were going through a harsh divorce, and it was affecting my personality,” he said. “They helped me get through some things, and made sure that I am still who I am today."

Castro said that this prom experience has opened his eyes.

"It made me more grateful for everything that I have in my life,” he said. “I just want to continue to help out others, because that is just my mission in life."

For the students at Roosevelt High School, it isn’t about the plastic crown. It’s about the legacy the students will leave behind.

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Denver demonstrates: Legalize marijuana and get affordable housing

In April 2016, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was still merely a senator from Alabama, the politician made a declaration on marijuana:

This drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about . . . and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.

As politically informed potheads throughout America honor Sessions by firing up a big one, it’s important and appropriate to look at one way in which Sessions’ attitude toward marijuana is counterintuitive — namely, in how it deprives our society of programs that could be subsidized by marijuana-derived taxpayer revenue.

In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock has proposed earmarking recurring marijuana taxes as a way to help pay for affordable housing for low-income residents, according to The Denver Post. By increasing the municipal tax on recreational marijuana from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, Hancock hopes to generate roughly $8 million each year. That money, combined with another $7 million spent each year from Denver’s operating budget, could then be used to either build or preserve 6,400 income-restricted apartments and housing units in the city to provide more affordable housing.

It’s a valuable idea, one that helps victims of poverty lead more bearable lives while reminding opponents of marijuana legalization that taxes on the drug can bring about unrelated social benefits.

"While marijuana taxes are not necessarily going to solve state budget problems, they could be extremely useful for helping localities deal with many of the smaller-scale issues they face in addition to benefiting education and public health services," Morgan Fox, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Salon by email. "It is likely that localities that have banned cannabis businesses will start to reconsider their policies when they see the financial benefits their neighbors are reaping. On top of taxes, these businesses create jobs and support ancillary industries, both of which improve local economic environments."

Fox added, "Another factor to consider is that many marijuana businesses go out of their way to support local charities and social programs because they realize there is still a stigma associated with the industry and they want to bring positive change to their communities while dispelling some of the unfortunate stereotypes some people still hold."

Attorney Zarah Levin-Fragasso of The Lanier Law Firm, Chair of the Committee on Drugs and the Law at the New York City Bar Association and president of The Lenox Hill Democratic Club, had a similar observation.

"In recent years, some states have moved towards full legalization and have seen massive economic gains from tax revenue from legal marijuana," Levin-Fragasso told Salon, stressing that these were her personal beliefs. "This revenue, in turn, has been put to positive use — use that includes funding public education. Unfortunately, many individuals originally harmed or at higher risk of the marijuana arrest and conviction are not reaping the benefits of this newly legalized industry in the states that have opted for full legalization of the adult consumption of cannabis."

She added, "Activists are seeking ways to incorporate communities of color and/or indigent communities into the state legalized business process but are reporting mixed and often disappointing results. The historically disenfranchised continue to be economically disenfranchised and while profits soar for some, others continue to rot in jail for these non-violent offenses."

Fox made the same point, telling Salon that "ending marijuana arrests, wisely using tax revenue, and ensuring that the marijuana industry is equitable and the people who have been most hurt by prohibition have a fair shot at getting involved, are all going to have a positive impact on public health and social justice issues."

It is also necessary to point out that using marijuana-based taxes to achieve unrelated social ends, while laudable, should not be used as a primary justification for legalizing pot.

"Historically, taxation is rarely a pathway to social justice," Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, told Salon by email. "Politicians possess the discretion to spend tax revenues as they wish, virtually irregardless of the public’s priorities. By contrast, ending the prosecution, incarceration, discrimination, and stigmatization of responsible adult cannabis consumers is a pathway toward social justice."

He added, "The ongoing enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco."

Levin-Fragasso emphasized that any meaningful attempt to address marijuana policy must start with acknowledging the inherent injustice in the fact that it is illegal in the first place.

"The history of marijuana criminalization is intimately interwoven with social justice concerns," Levin-Fragasso said. "It would be remiss to review marijuana criminalization and subsequent legalization efforts without first looking at the racial disparity in the application of the marijuana arrest and conviction. According to the ACLU, despite approximately similar usage rates between black and white cannabis users, black cannabis users are over three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white consumers of the substance. The cost on primarily non-white and/or indigent communities from marijuana convictions is unmeasurable by any true metric."

At a time when roughly three out of five Americans support legalizing marijuana, there are fewer reasons to think like Sessions and more reasons to approach the substance like Denver is doing. Legalizing it is going to help lower income Americans. Not only will it prevent the prison trap that ensnares the poorest Americans — and overwhelmingly, minorities — but the revenue from selling it can actually help more people. The fact that so many innocent lives are being ruined because of the prohibition against pot — and that so many more could be helped if it were legalized — underscores why ending the ban is such a morally compelling issue in 2018.

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Veteran takes inaugural nonstop flight from Denver to Paris 74 years after D-Day

DENVER — The Mile High City now has a French connection as the first nonstop flight from Denver to Paris lifted off Monday.

Discount carrier Norwegian Airlines is getting passengers to the City of Lights for as little as $200 each way.

There are a lot of important people ready to take flight on the first nonstop from Denver to Paris, but none as important as 97-year-old Steven Melnikoff, who is making a return trip to France 74 years after he first went there.

Melnikoff stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. He earned three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during World War II.

He’s headed back to France with Denver charity The Greatest Generations Foundation to help with planning for next year’s 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Melnikoff is one of a couple hundred passengers boarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on it’s inaugural flight from Denver to Charles deGalle airport.

The rock-bottom priced flight tickets are available if you’re flexible with time and date.

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Good Works: Ball Corp. touts its 2017 charity accomplishments – Denver Business Journal

Ball Corp. touts its 2017 charity accomplishments

Technology and packaging firm Ball Corporation announced its philanthropic output in 2017, and the stats speak for themselves: 38,000 employee volunteer hours, $5 million in cash donations to communities that house its offices and additional in-kind donations for disaster relief. The company focuses on “four funding pillars:” recycling, disaster preparedness and relief, food security and STEM education.

Colorado cancer charities merge for bigger impact

Two big names in financial assistance for cancer patients announced they’re joining forces to maximize their impact. Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation and Rocky Mountain Cancer Assistance, both of which provide money for treatments that can rack up individual costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, have jointly distributed about $9 million to thousands of Colorado families to help offset those costs. The merger will mean a 50 percent reduction in overhead and administrative costs, freeing up more funds for philanthropy, according to the new charity, which will operate under the Ray of Hope name.

Colorado bank builds bikes for kids

The mortgage team from Colorado State Bank and Trust spent time at the Cesar Chavez Academy to help build bikes for second graders. The Wish for Wheels program helps provide bicycles to low-income families in an effort to promote social mobility and a healthy lifestyle. The CSBT team built 30 bikes.

$710K in scholarships awarded for non-traditional students

The Daniels Fund announced $710,000 in Boundless Opportunity Scholarship grants to 13 higher education and training programs in the state. The money will be used for scholarships awarded to veterans, GED recipients, former foster care youth and other non-traditional students. The Daniels Fund was created by cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels.

How to send items for Briefcase and Good Works — Send items and photos (color, jpeg or tiff format, minimum of 200 dpi) to denvernews@bizjournals.com.

2017 Largest Corporate Philanthropists

Ranked by Cash contributions to Colorado-based charitable organizations in 2016

Rank Business name Cash contributions to Colorado-based charitable organizations in 2016 1 Xcel Energy Inc. $8.21 million 2 FirstBank Holding Co. $3.8 million 3 Alpine Banks of Colorado $3.2 million View This List

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3 Reasons To Be Patch Mayor Of Denver

DENVER, CO — Do you sometimes feel no one is tooting a horn for your community? Do you wish you had a platform to sing the praises of people and events that make your community special? If you love your community, sign up to become a Patch Mayor.

Here are 3 reasons why you should sign up:

Use Patch and our Facebook and Twitter pages to spread the word about about charity events, local celebrations, civic issues, weather, high school sports, new restaurants or businesses, and moreSpark and guide local conversations as the host of your Patch about what’s happening nearby — be it a lost pet or a controversial issue in front of the Manchester Township Council You’ll be published on Patch, reaching thousands of your neighbors and people in Denver.

The ideal candidate is a civic-minded, sociable resident who’s plugged into what people in town are saying and doing, who likes to write, is active on social media and who wants to share the stories of his or her neighborhood or town and guide community conversation. A Patch Mayor is a trusted contributor who’s curious about the people, places, events and news that make a place unique.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a blog about your neighborhood or town, this could be your opportunity to do so — with the full support of our editorial team, a state-of-the-art publishing platform, and access to thousands of newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans. To express interest, fill out our application form and a Patch editor will be in touch with more information.

Ready to sign up? Click here to apply to become your local Patch Mayor!

Image via Shutterstock

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Consultant makes money on ‘dream house’ raffles, even if nobody wins a home

SAN DIEGO – There are a host of dream house raffles across the West this year, and a big winner in many of them appears to be a Seattle-based consultant.

"10x Better Than Social Security Checks" Must Stake Claim by April 1

The raffles have the same concept – for a $150 ticket, get a chance to win a multi-million-dollar dream home. Although there are lesser prizes, the house is only given away if ticket sales hit a certain threshold.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego has used consultant Neal Martin Zeavy to run its dream-house raffle at least since 2008. In the decade that he has run the event, the fundraiser has never sold enough tickets to result in a house give-away.

Zeavy was paid $525,000 by the San Diego charity last year, according to the non-profit’s tax returns. For context, Charles Day – the San Diego charity’s president and CEO – received $224,985, the tax records show.

Zeavy has helped run dream house raffles for at least five other nonprofits.

Special Olympics Southern California has run a dream house raffle for eight years and never sold enough tickets to give away the main prize, spokesman John Shaffer said, although he did not have information on how many tickets short the raffle was each year. For his efforts, Zeavy received $459,390 as a consultant last year, according to tax returns.

Zeavy was also paid six- or seven-figure payments to run raffles that are happening this year, say tax returns. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, $1 million; Special Olympics Washington, $294,760; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern California, $222,004; and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, $456,285.

Those organizations did not respond to repeated requests for information on how many years the contest did, or did not, give the top prize.

U-T Watchdog tried to reach Zeavy, 38, at his own $2 million home near the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle. He did not reply to a message left over a week ago on his voicemail, and the Ronald McDonald charity declined to ask him to call.

Mount Madonna

Before he got into dream-house raffles, Zeavy was a kindergarten teacher at a small school in rural Central California. At Watsonville’s Mount Madonna School in 2006, Zeavy helped run a raffle that promised a dream house for the winner. The contest was so successful that he was soon tapped to run a similar contest in San Diego.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego last gave away a dream-house in 2005, before Zeavy took over the event. The fundraiser, taking place now, is promising a grand prize of a La Jolla home or cash prize if the winner doesn’t want the house.

Day, the CEO, noted that other prizes besides the house are given even if the house is not.

"Even if the threshold is not met," he wrote in an email, "we still award a grand prize in the form of a $1.3 million annuity or a $900,000 cash payout, along with more than 2,300 other prizes."

Promotion materials in the fine print explain the prize could be unlikely.

"More than 48,000 raffle tickets have been sold in each of the past four years," it reads on a flyer for many San Diego residents and on the contest’s website, sdraffle.com. The threshold for a grand prize this year is 68,685 tickets.

Charity watchdogs have criticized the contest because it appeared the nonprofit had incentive not to sell enough tickets. Last year, it was roughly 25,000 tickets short of giving away the main advertised prize and 11,000 short in 2016.

Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, said raffles should be called something else if the main prize is seldom won.

"If it is unlikely that the house is ever going to be given away, because it’s only a rare occasion they sell enough tickets," he said, "in fairness, they need to be clear on what the most likely prize is."

The promise of a dream house is powerful, and is featured in marketing for such raffles.

In an advertisement for the Special Olympics Southern California dream house, entertainer J-Black White tells the camera, "You could win this amazing home. Just for doing some good in the world."

Zeavy told The Seattle Times in 2014 that he had been involved in 33 dream house raffles. He declined to tell the newspaper how many times the grand prize had been given away.

In 2013, Zeavy’s company Raffle Administration Corp. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark "Dream House Raffle." The application was later abandoned, the office said.

Where the money goes

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego uses the majority of the money to fund the organization’s mission to provide bedrooms and meals for families with very sick children receiving hospitalized care.

It raised $3.4 million in gaming activities in 2017, said tax returns. Even though Zeavy received $525,000, there is no dispute the raffle made money for the charity.

Daniel Borochoff, founder and president of Chicago-based CharityWatch, has been critical of dream house raffles in the past but acknowledged it could be the easiest way for some charities to make cash for a good cause.

"If the charity feels this is the most cost-efficient way for it to raise money, without misleading people … then it is a good thing," he said.

Borochoff said appearing aboveboard is important, and he doubted people were actually reading the fine print on the raffle.

"Charities need to be concerned about appearances and trust," he said. "If I was running that charity, I would say, ‘We need to give away a house. I don’t want to be associated with something where you are giving the impression you are giving away a house to people, and you’re not doing it year after year after year.’"

In many cases, the charities rely on the raffle as a big part of their funding. For the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the raffle made up the largest part of its budget – 25 percent – in its most recent financial report.

Before Zeavy came on board, the San Diego raffle had a streak of home give-aways – in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The winner in 2005 was the only one to choose the house over the prize money.

A single ticket for this year’s contest costs $150, or contestants can buy three tickets for $400 or five tickets for $550. In addition to the cash or annuity mentioned by Day, other prizes include an Apple MacBook, 2018 Vespa Primavera or Google Jamboard.

The home being promoted for this year’s drawing is on Hidden Valley Road in La Jolla, with three bedrooms and four bathrooms spread across 4,985-square-feet. It was listed for sale in April 2017 for $5.2 million. It was taken off the market in November, pending the outcome of the dream-house raffle.

More information on raffles

Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver – milehighraffle.com

Special Olympics Southern California – socalraffle.com

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – sfraffle.com

Special Olympics Washington – pugetsoundraffle.com

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern California – sacramentoraffle.com

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego – sdraffle.com

Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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