Jessica Dunn has been busy lately, and it’s been a good kind of busy. The Executive Director of the Dallas Stars Foundation and her staff have been gearing up for some exciting changes. This weekend, the foundation will enter a new era when it launches a 50/50 raffle at Dallas Stars home games.
“It is exciting,” Dunn said. “We are going to be the first one in the state to do it, and it’s so exciting.”
The Stars will become the first pro sports team in Texas to offer a charitable in-game raffle when they host the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. The 50/50 raffle will be conducted at every Stars home game, including the playoffs.
“We are going to be able to raise the awareness of the foundation because we have a captive audience of 17,000 to 18,000 people a night and bring awareness to what the foundation does,” Dunn said. “And then there is also the additional revenue we are going to be able to push back out to our community programs – playground builds, our fitness programs in the schools, our literacy program which is the Stick With Reading program. And then there are the grants, to be able to give out even more for them. It’s fantastic.”
It's a fantastic opportunity for fans attending Stars home games because they’ll have a chance to bring home a different kind of souvenir – a cash prize – and help a worthy cause in the process.
The Dallas Stars Foundation will sell raffle tickets during each Stars home game at American Airlines Center. A drawing will be held during the third period to determine the 50/50 jackpot winner. For each home game, half the jackpot goes to the selected winner and the other half goes to the Dallas Stars Foundation to support its programs.
“It’s a regular way for our fans to contribute to the foundation,” said Jason Farris, Dallas Stars Foundation President and Dallas Stars Executive V.P. and Chief Operating Officer. “Each year we run some major events and sometimes those have some pretty high price points. Now, everyday fans who want to participate can have some fun and play 50/50 raffle each game and know that 50 percent of those proceeds are going to go to the Dallas Stars Foundation.”
The Stars won’t be alone in launching a 50/50 raffle this weekend. The Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Mavericks Foundation will begin their in-game raffle Sunday when the Mavs host Minnesota. Texas voters opened the door for this avenue of fundraising last fall when they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 4, which authorized the legislature to permit the charitable foundations of pro sports teams to conduct charitable raffles.
Currently, the Dallas Stars Foundation raises funds through donations, corporate partnerships and major fundraisers like Casino Night and Hockey and Heels. There are some in-game fundraising efforts as well. There’s no guess on exactly how much extra revenue the Dallas Stars Foundation will be able to generate with the 50/50 raffle, but the expectation is it will provide a big boost and provide an opportunity for an expansion of its good works.
“That additional revenue with the regular season games and playoff games will be huge,” Dunn said. “We will be able to partner with even more non-profits and do even more grants. There may be more schools we can go into to do different programming and scholarships and grants that we do to hockey players and figure skaters. That’s just more money that we can put out to the community and help people.”
A number of NHL teams already hold 50/50 raffles to benefit their charitable efforts. Pittsburgh, Chicago and Tampa Bay are among the teams, just to name a few.
“We are going to put a Texas spin on it, and I have every expectation that our fans are going to take off and run with it,” said Farris. “It will probably start slow, but everything is bigger in Texas. We’re expecting fans to embrace it.”
The raffle will become a part of the Stars in-game presentation, which is already top-notch, always entertaining and now will have a new item to work into the mix.
“Our guys who do the in-game have become renowned for being pretty clever,” Farris said. “We’ll have some fun with it for sure. We’ll promote where the jackpot is, so people know where it stands, and we’ll do the drawing in the third period of every game. One lucky fan is going to go away with a little bit of cash.”
And as far as the other half of the pot, the part that goes to the foundation, there will be an opportunity to highlight where the money goes and how it benefits those in the community.
“We’ll have people’s attention in the building as we are doing 50/50 and we will be able to profile some of the good things that money goes towards,” Farris said. “Money goes in, and people often do not hear where it ends up. This is going to give us more of a platform to tell some of those great stories.”
Stars fans will have a chance to help create those stories starting this weekend and perhaps rake in a nice cash prize as well.
For additional information about the 50/50 Raffle and winning raffle tickets, please visit DallasStars.com/Raffle