For the 11th year, a dream home in San Diego will be raffled off to support children and their families at San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House. The home of choice this year is a scenic retreat in Rancho Santa Fe, the largest the Ronald McDonald House Charities has ever featured. The six-bedroom, eight-bathroom custom home sits high atop a ridge on 2.4 acres with a panoramic mountain view that stretches out to the ocean.
“The homeowners making this available to us is a gift,” said Chuck Day, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego who is tasked with touring enviable estates on the market to feature in their annual raffle.
With more than 1,300 prizes available in the Dream House Raffle, participants have a one in 50 chance of winning. Prizes include luxury vehicles such as an Audi A6 or Mercedes Benz C350 Coupe; vacations to destinations like Switzerland, Monte Carlo and Hawaii; Apple laptop, 15 GOPRO cameras, diamond necklaces, pearl earrings and more.
The grand prize raffle will be held on May 16 and ticket purchasers who enter early will have the added opportunity to win through bonus, early bird drawings.
Tickets are $150 and participants can save by buying tickets in bulk — a package of three tickets costs $400 and a pack of five costs $550. An order of three or more serves as entry into a drawing for a 2015 Porsche Boxster Convertible or $50,000 cash.
The winner of the grand prize can choose between the dream home or $2.1 million in cash if Ronald McDonald House meets its ticket threshold. In the past 10 years, the ticket threshold has been met three times: one winner has taken the house, the other two have taken the money.
If the winner does take the cash, the home goes back to the seller, having enjoyed five months of marketing as a dream house.
Last year’s raffle brought in more than $3 million and was the most successful in terms of the number of tickets sold and money raised, Day said. The Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the fundraiser and other philanthropic donations to operate this “home away from home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.
The Ronald McDonald House of San Diego was founded in 1980, opening with just eight rooms. The house just celebrated the five-year anniversary of its expansion, in which it grew to 47 rooms.
“We were full then and we’ve been full every day since; that’s the challenge as we face the future,” Day said.
The San Diego facility is unique in its 65,000-square-foot size, which puts it in the top 15 percent of the 350 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world. The house includes outdoor courtyards and play spaces for children and a Family Care Center to provide services for families who aren’t living there, such as meals, a computer lounge and play activity rooms for siblings. Between the rooms and those additional services, the group reaches 12,500 family members a year.
In addition to its size, San Diego’s house is also unusual in that it is located directly across the street from Rady Children’s Hospital, “300 steps from the hospital bedside.”
Because the house is uniquely situated near the highly specialized care offered at Rady’s and nearby Scripps Proton Therapy Center, the first in the country to treat patients with pencil-beam scanning, the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego sees longer stays and kids who are facing more serious illnesses and injuries.
The average length of stay at the house is 15 days, but Day said many people end up staying much longer. One family has been with them for six months and they are expecting to stay five to seven months more.
Those long stays and the full rooms make it even more important that the house be a comfortable, welcoming home for families, helped along by the Dream House Raffle.
“This [Dream House] is just absolutely stunning. It’s not every day you get to hang out at a 7,050-square-foot house,” said Day, drinking in the hilltop home’s vast view of mountains, canyon and ocean over the disappearing lip of an infinity pool in the backyard.
The grand prize home is accessed through a dramatic entry with a courtyard and fountain, and a hillside that blooms with yellow flowers.
Downstairs, a hall filled with natural sunlight links a spacious master chef’s kitchen, a living room space with two warming fireplaces, a wine cellar, a dining room that doubles as a library with its walls lined with bookshelves and a “second master suite” that in any other home would suffice as the first master suite with its large bathroom, office and walk-in closet.
Upstairs, each bedroom has its own bathroom, and the luxurious master suite has ocean views from the bedroom, office, bathroom and private deck.
Across the courtyard with its two garages is a guest house that could also serve as an artist’s quiet retreat.
“This really is a home and it feels like a home,” Day said. “We invite everyone to take part in the dream.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-824-9939 or submitting a raffle order entry form via mail, fax or in-person at the Ronald McDonald House. Order forms and ticket information are available at SDraffle.com.