January 31, 2008
Briefs: Groundbreaking for Holocaust Museum, finally
(Page 2 - Previous Page)In October of 2004 the X PRIZE Foundation awarded $10 million to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen, who built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks. The Foundation has since launched the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics.
For more information, visit www.xprize.org or http://www.milkenschool.org/.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
Kadima Mega-Raffle Shrinks
Kadima Hebrew Academy in West Hills didn't give away a million-dollar house at its first home-giveaway raffle in the last days of 2007. In fact, the grand prize ended up being $25,000 -- not the promised brand-new home or alternate prize of $800,000, and Kadima didn't make any money on the major fund raising endeavor.
Kadima had set out to sell 18,000 raffle tickets at $150 each, which would have netted the school about $1 million. But the Conservative kindergarten through eighth-grade day school sold about 5,000 tickets. The cost of marketing, administration and the prizes will most likely exceed what it took in, once the final numbers are tabulated, according to Allison Krumholz, the school's director of advancement.
The outcome was disappointing but not that surprising, since million-dollar home raffles rarely reach that goal in the first year, Krumholz said.
A 2001 change in the California Penal code opened the door for nonprofit mega-raffles, and last year an estimated two dozen such raffles took place in Southern California. Only a few that have been around for several years give away the full grand prize.
Krumholz said the raffle's failure to bring in money has not endangered the school, which continued other fund raising efforts and did not count on it to make budget.
The board will assess the project -- the administrative burden to the school versus a possible greater return next year -- and determine by spring whether Kadima will attempt a home raffle again.
The raffle wasn't a total loss for ticket holders. The school gave away almost $200,000 in prizes, including the $25,000 grand prize to Bill Knoll and Linda Long, a BMW (winner Carlos Pongo of Simi Valley opted for the $30,000 cash equivalent), several $10,000 and $15,000 prizes, and many other smaller purses at four early-bird incentive drawings.
Most of the prizes went to ticket holders who were not members of the Kadima community. While the school had some explaining to do about the diminished prize levels -- contingencies that were spelled out in the contest rules -- most ticket-holders took the news well.
"In general, most people understood that it was for the school, and we did our best, but it didn't happen for us," Krumholz said. "I think most people were pretty positive."
Israeli Gymnast Cancels Tournament Appearance
One day before her scheduled arrival in Los Angeles on Wed., Jan. 23, representatives for Israeli rhythmic gymnast Irina Risenzon e-mailed the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics to cancel her appearance at the L.A. Lights Tournament of Champions on Jan. 24-27.
According to Tanya Hallman, the meet manager, the e-mail was short and vague, saying that the Olympic hopeful and another junior level gymnast from Israel slated to appear would not be able to attend the competition due to "safety concerns."
Despite repeated efforts, the L.A. School of Gymnastics was not able to reach the Israeli team for further details.
Fortunately, the last minute no-show did not cause much of a stir among fans and most likely will not hurt Risenzon's Olympic hopes.
"Our meet is pretty early in the season," Hallman said. "So it won't likely affect her career, but she needs to be out competing by March in order to establish a ranking and make an impression on the judges. Otherwise, she will have missed the boat for the 2008 Olympics."
-- Dikla Kadosh, Contributing Writer
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