By Kathy Day
For the past nine years, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego has held its Dream House Raffle — only once has the winner taken the home.
Now there’s another chance to win a dream home. A $150 ticket could well be the key to a $3.2 million Rancho Santa Fe home. Participants also have a shot at more than 100 other prizes — including $25,000 cash in the first “Early Bird” drawing for those buying tickets by Feb. 8.
Chuck Day is president and CEO of the nonprofit that provides a home away from home with overnight lodging, warm meals and other supportive services to families with hospitalized children. He led a tour of the RSF property on Jan. 16.
“It’s exquisite,” he said, describing the five-bedroom, 6.5-bath home that includes a game room, 1,500-bottle wine room with a tasting bar, pool and extensive outdoor entertainment space. “It really is a home a family could live in.”
It features 7,700 square feet of luxury living on one of the Ranch’s premier golf courses.
Each year, Ronald McDonald House executives contact homeowners with property on the market, Day said. If they are interested in being involved in the Dream House Raffle, they take their home off the market while the raffle is held. In exchange they get an extensive marketing effort and may never have to put it back on the market, he added.
After the 2012 event, in which the winner — out of more than 32,000 tickets — chose a $1 million annuity instead of the $2.2 million home, Day said they stepped up in price in hopes of raising even more money.
Proceeds are used to “make sure we can run the house,” Day said.
Giving a nod to local McDonald’s owners and operators whose backing provides just 10 percent of the operating funds, he noted that this fundraiser and other activities account for the remaining monies needed to operated the 47-bedroom house.
Located just 300 steps from Rady Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House provides a place of “refuge and respite for moms and dads,” he added. Some who live close enough to get home at night come and take breaks during the day while their children are in treatment or resting. Others, whose children may be in the hospital for six months, live in the house and have access to private rooms, their own min-kitchens, a classroom for their other children, a chapel and even a beauty salon staffed by volunteers.
In 2012, they served more than 1,500 families “going through unimaginable stress” whose children had serious illness or injuries, Day said.
Those who purchase raffle tickets are in for all of the drawings, from the first Early Bird one through the final one for the house on May 18. And you can win more than one time, Day said. “Once you are in, you are in for all of the drawings.”
And, those buying more than one ticket get an equivalent number of entries in the multi-ticket drawing, which features more than $45,000 in prizes with the top prize a 2013 Porsche Boxster or $30,000.
This year the annuity option for the grand prize could be $1.6 million over 20 years or a $1.1 million one-time prize. All of the prizes, including the house, require that a minimum of 46,000 tickets — 51,000 are available — must be sold by May 3. To learn what happens if that many aren’t sold, read the rules on the contest website.
Ronald McDonald House Charities has a number other of ways to contribute to its efforts, from buying cleaning supplies or food to joining them at other events.
On June 27, the organization will hold its annual Red Shoe Day, with people at intersections around town collecting donations. Last year someone — either by accident or on purpose — dropped a diamond ring in. It’s currently in safe keeping, but if it is not claimed within a year, it will be appraised and added to one of their silent auctions, Day said.
Other events include Tables for Tots auction in the summer and the annual ROMP Gala set for October. Learn more about what the nonprofit does and how you can help at
Tickets are available through May 3 by calling 888/824-9939 or visiting
for a registration form.
Writer Kathy Day is Chuck Day’s sister-in-law.