Soboba’s annual springtime events return in full bloom

The 10th annual Soboba Foundation & Soboba Casino Resort Charity Golf Tournament marks a successful milestone, with from left, Daniel Valdez, Sally Moreno-Ortiz, Dondi Silvas, Isaiah Vivanco, Julie Arrietta-Parcero, Catherine “Cat” Modesto and Antonia Briones-Venegas. Valley News/Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians photo

Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

Special to Valley News

The Soboba Foundation & Soboba Casino Resort Charity Golf Tournament celebrated its 10th year of togetherness, caring, helping others and giving back to community nonprofits with its two-day event a few weeks ago. The Tribal Easter Picnic returned Sunday, April 10, and brought out all ages for egg hunts, picnic games and a catered lunch for families to enjoy.

This year’s golf tournament supported a dozen nonprofits by granting each of them $10,000 to continue their work through implementation of projects or programs. Those who benefited from this year’s event were the 7G Foundation, Boxing for Christ, Carol’s Kitchen, Colombiere Retreat Center Inc. – Spirit Mountain Retreat, Friends of Valley-Wide Foundation, Lifeworks Adult Transition Program – Hemet Unified School District, My City Youth, Native American Land Conservancy, TIP of Southwest Riverside County Inc., Valley Community Pantry, Valley Restart Shelter and VIP Tots.

“It was really great to be able to gather together again, especially with this being our milestone 10th anniversary,” Dondi Silvas, president of Soboba Foundation, said.

She has served on the foundation board since 2015 but volunteered her time at the tournament before that time.

“Ten years is a long time, and I love seeing the continued support of all those willing to contribute to the causes the foundation feels work well in our communities,” Silvas said.

Jim Lineberger, executive director of Valley Community Pantry, said his organization has been serving those in need in the San Jacinto Valley since 1965 and has been grateful for past support from the Soboba Foundation. This year’s funds will be used to purchase a riding mower to maintain a large empty lot they have and storage racks and food sorting tables for the Hemet facility to accommodate food donations received from local stores, businesses, churches, schools, service organizations and individuals.

Mary Morse of Colombiere Retreat Center Inc. said that with the grant from Soboba, Spirit Mountain Retreat will continue offering “Return to Yourself Resiliency Retreats” at its Idyllwild facility for women veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hemet Unified School District’s Sharyl Williams said having Lifeworks Adult Services be chosen as one of this year’s recipients was exciting. She said the program currently operates an on-campus coffee shop, and they want to take it on the road to other school sites, community events and local businesses to give the program’s participants more vocational and community exposure.

Nearly 200 players were on the Soboba Springs Golf Course each day, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29-30, and made their way to the Soboba Casino Resort Event Center for the return of the awards banquet where one raffle grand prize winner each night was awarded $10,000 in cash and a chance to win $20,000. An auction and other opportunity drawings netted participants an array of sports memorabilia, equipment, fun outings and other prizes.

Soboba Tribal Council Chair Isaiah Vivanco has served as the Golf Tournament Committee Chair for the past eight years.

“We’ve developed into one of the most popular charity golf tournaments in our area,” he said. “We continue to sell out year after year and this, I always say, is a tribute to the hard-working committee we have. This year we challenged ourselves with creating a 10th anniversary event that would top all the past events. I believe we accomplished this. Over the years I’ve developed relationships with pretty much all the participants and when I see them at other events or meetings I always get complimented on our tournament. I always let our team know of the growing excitement for our tournament, which also leads to anticipation of the next, and the committee has answered the call every time.”

Vivanco said a highlight of this year’s event was providing grants to a dozen charities. They had planned on 10 beneficiaries as had been the case in recent years, but the Soboba Foundation made the decision to add a couple more this year. He said he was happy they could accomplish that increase.

“Like any big event there are always challenges or last-minute changes,” Vivanco said. “We’ve assembled a team who works well with one another. When challenges pop up our team works together to come up with the best solution. As a participant, you will see an awesome event being put on but just know that there is also an awesome team behind the scenes making sure it runs smoothly.”

He added that seeing the banquets return this year was something he enjoyed.

“Because of COVID over the past two years, we went without a banquet,” Vivanco said. “But this year we brought it back and I believe it was one of our best. From the attendance to the live auction, it was a fun-filled night. I especially like being able to interact with the participants. They are our biggest supporters and partners and being able to say thank you in person means a lot.”

Andrew Vallejos, Soboba’s sponsorship coordinator, said, “The real heroes of the event were the volunteer coordinator and all the team members of the golf tournament committee from both the casino resort and Tribal administration.”

Looking ahead to the next big event, the Soboba Foundation & Soboba Casino Resort are gearing up to present the 14th annual Lip Sync Contest fundraiser to benefit local nonprofits Friday, June 17. Applicants will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Twelve local nonprofit organizations will be asked to lip sync their hearts out to win their share of $10,000 in prize money.

Silvas said it is always a fun night and every year she wonders how the groups can top themselves the next time, but they do. She appreciates their ability to get out of their comfort zones for a cause they believe in. Even before she was involved as a foundation member, she would attend the event to support the groups and have a great night out.

“Every year it gets better and better,” Silvas said. “And last year’s judges brought a certain flair to the event that elevated it even more.”

Vallejos, who will emcee the program once again, said, “Often humorous and sometimes touching, each year I look forward to seeing the creativity, teamwork and dedication behind each of the contestants. They always deliver such an entertaining show for our audience and that makes them all winners in my book.”

For more information and to complete an application for the Lip Sync contest, visit or contact

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