Posted by Bill Pommering

The Santee Lakeside Rotary Club—through its Foundation—offers college scholarships to high school student at three local High Schools: Santana, West Hills and El Capitan. Each year three students are selected to receive these scholarships. They are given to students who would otherwise be in danger of not graduating. The Club offers Mentors to the selected sophomores and helps them achieve a minimum grade average for the remainder of their high school terms. The students must maintain a grade average, be drug and alcohol free and perform a minimum number of volunteer hours within the community.

In order to fund these scholarships, the Club/Foundation began holding an annual Concert as the fundraising vehicle. The very first of these ventures, Symphony at the Lakes, cost more money to stage than the proceeds of the ticket sales. In the next year, the event was scaled-back and rebranded as Concert at the Lakes. It was a jazz oriented performance and raised a small profit for the scholarship funds.

In the years to follow, the event was expanded and morphed into an evening of Rock and Roll with dinner being added to the event. The attendance steadily rose from year to year. The Santee Lakeside Rotary Club Foundation entered into a partnership with the Santee Lakes Foundation as a means of selling more tickets and having more volunteers for the event. We added a silent auction component to the event as well.

Then, in 2015, the Concert was rained-out. For the first time in over one-hundred years, it rained on that July date in Santee! The event had to be cancelled and refunds were offered to all tickets holders and sponsors. But then something wonderful happened!

Many of the ticket holders donated their ticket prices back to the Foundation and most of the sponsors did the same! In the end, the rain out actually made a small profit for the scholarship funds! Even the performers allowed us to not pay them, and they came back to perform in 2016 at the same agreed to amounts.

In the two years that followed, the event grew larger and larger. And on July 29, 2017, the Club/Foundation set a new record: it raised a gross income of $91,000. This was over thirty percent more than raised in 2016! To think: the Santee Lakeside Rotary Club of around 21 members raised nearly $100,000.  More importantly, the Santee-Lakeside Rotary Club has branded itself in the community, resulting in an influx of new members, bringing the total membership close to 30.