Marty Franich and Mits Nakashima started this fundraiser in about 1980, as a way to help the club meet its annual goal of $100 per member contribution to The Rotary Foundation (TRF).

Marty Franich and Mits Nakashima had the idea to have an annual event during the regular lunch meeting where everyone from the club would bring something from their line of work, e.g. a crate of berries, bottle of whiskey, dozen roses, 6-pack of oil, etc. to be raffled off.  We would get everyone to buy $20 or $30 worth of raffle tickets, and that would jump start the fund.  Over the course of the year, other donations would come in from various other generous donors, and the club would do quite well towards the $100 annual target.  This annual lunch time event was called “Mits and Marty Day.”

When Mits Nakashima resigned from our Rotary Club, Marty Franich asked Bill Mine to join him and be the other namesake for the event and so it became “Mine and Marty Day”.  In the first few years they were excited to raise $2,000.

In the early 90’s we tried to figure out how to raise a few more dollars.  The idea was proposed to bring in 5 or 6 auction items (still a lunch meeting) and raise another $2,500 that way.  Eventually, the event included raffle items, silent auction items and live auction items.  At this point I think we were raising $7-8 thousand per year.  (I believe Jerry Fitzgerald should be credited with the idea of the auction, and frankly, a lot of the money that came in to the Foundation.)

In 2005 the event became a Dinner and Auction event, with spouses and friends, and moved to the Lagoon House. The idea came from Union Bank and Elaine Genevro. In addition Greg Feaster with Pajaro Dunes North Association and Carol Turley with Pajaro Dunes Association donated the facilities and all the setup. These three were instrumental in allowing the club to change the event from a 30 minute auction during a regular Rotary meeting to a very special dinner and auction in the evening.  Elaine specifically wanted to cover all cost for dinner and drink so that all funds would go to charity.  Elaine also got her staff involved by decorating and coming up with a theme each year. Laura Kostreba with Union Bank has carried on that tradition.  All of them deserve huge thanks from our club.  Sharon Jurach and Katie Gallegos and all on their committee also deserve huge thanks from our club for having chaired the event for the last several years.

The net proceeds from the event have steadily increased each year, from $10,710 in 2000, to $22,165 in 2010.

Beginning in 2008, the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Watsonville decided to allocate a portion of the net proceeds raised at the event to local charities.  Each year since 2008, 5 local charities, chosen each year by the Club membership, receive a 60% allocation (12% each) of the net proceeds, with the remaining 40% going to TRF.

This was written in 2011 by Rocky Franich, Sharon Jurach and Steve Henderson.