By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Quincy's Catholic schools will be the primary beneficiaries of the fourth annual "Everybody Wins" mega raffle, which gets under way this week with the launching of ticket sales.
The raffle, sponsored by the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation and the Quincy Notre Dame Foundation, has become an important funding source for Quincy's four Catholic elementary schools and its only Catholic high school.
Each year the two foundations sell up to 4,000 raffle tickets for $100 apiece. The goal is to give half of the money generated -- $200,000 -- to the various educational institutions. The rest is then used for prizes and to cover the raffle's costs.
This year, $165,000 in prizes will be awarded, including various "early bird" and weekly prizes available to participants who buy tickets early.
Eighty prizes will be awarded during a special "mega event" that begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at the Knights of Columbus in Quincy.
Starting at 6:30 that night, drawings for prizes will begin and continue throughout the evening. The top three prizes will be awarded last. They include the $100,000 grand prize; the second place prize of either a 2014 Toyota RAV4 or a 2014 Toyota Camry; and the third-place prize of $10,000 in cash.
Winners need not be present to win.
Tickets will go on sale beginning Wednesday by students and families of QND and the four Catholic elementary schools -- Blessed Sacrament, St. Dominic, St. Francis and St. Peter.
Ticket sales will then be expanded on Saturday when a raffle kickoff event is held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Quincy Mall's fountain court.
Tickets will be available at the mall event and online starting Saturday at www.quincymegaraffle.org.
Kurt Stuckman, executive director of the QND Foundation, said in a press release that the annual mega raffle is having a "deep impact" on Quincy's Catholic schools by providing some much-needed revenue.
"Supporters of Catholic education have really advocated this fund raiser," he said.
Paul Rittof, executive director of the QCES Foundation, said many people like the raffle because not only are they helping the Catholic schools, but they also have a 1-in-4,000 chance to win one of the top three prizes and a 1-in-35 chance of winning at least $100.
"It's hard to beat those odds," Rittof said.