The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation raised $263,000 at its annual Holiday Fantasy auction last Friday, surpassing even last year’s blockbuster fundraiser.
“It was fantastic,” RFWF Executive Director Sara Stratton said. “Our community just gave, and gave, and gave.”
Like last year, the biggest money maker was the paddle raise, Stratton said. That’s the part of a fundraiser where attendees simply pledge money to the cause without buying or bidding on anything.
It didn’t hurt that they had a few destination trips and a signed helmet from Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett on the silent auction, too.
In previous years, the auction has typically raised around $150,000. Last year’s auction raised around $252,000, well over the foundation’s goal that year of $167,000.
With that success in mind, they set a stretch goal of $250,000 for this year, Stratton said, and ended up exceeding even that amount by $13,000.
The foundation held its first-ever online auction in 2020, and maintained an online-section of the auction last year as well. This year, they were fully back in person.
The auction, as well as the corresponding dinner at the Thunder Dome Car Museum in Enumclaw, raises money to support RFWF’s various community programs. That includes the Care Van, which transports local residents to their health-related, non-emergency appointments; the Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program, which delivers hot meals to Plateau seniors, fills backpacks with food for local students, and funds the weekly Full Bellies soup kitchen program; and in-school mental health counseling.
The auction specifically funds about 45% of the RFWF program budget, Stratton said, and with inflation buoying their expenses higher and higher, it’s crucial for their ability to maintain their current level of service, such as maintaining their in-school mental health counselor program next year.
The Wellness Foundation is on the hunt for a bigger property that can house all their programs and office needs, Stratton said. Their small office on the corner of Cole St. and Myrtle Avenue in Enumclaw is getting cramped, and while the foundation is “really thankful” they’ve been able to borrow space for much of their programming, a bigger office would let them up their game, Stratton said.