Menifee Rotary’s annual Mayor’s Charity Gala black-tie event raises money for local charities

Menifee Mayor Pro Tem Bob Karwin, acting as the Menifee Rotary Club sponsored Mayor’s Charity Gala emcee, introduces the guests at the March 3 black-tie fundraiser in Menifee’s Fairfield Inn. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

The Rotary Club of Menifee brought together some of the most notable people in the valley to provide financial help and hope to many nonprofit organizations in Menifee and surrounding cities March 3 at the Mayor’s Charity Gala.

The black-tie event came at the same time as the 60th anniversary of Rotary International and was held at Menifee’s Fairfield Inn on Civic Center Drive, with Menifee Mayor Bill Zimmerman and Menifee Union School District Superintendent Jennifer Root from the Rotary Club presiding. Menifee City Council’s Mayor Pro Tem Bob Karwin acted as the emcee for the evening program.

The event included fine food and music, a silent auction with many valuable gift baskets, a raffle for local wines, a “heads-or-tails” drawing for a trip to the Academy of Magical Arts, and video presentations, including one for a high school student attending a Rotary leadership conference.

Root said, “This is our annual fundraiser for the year. We get donations from our community, and we auction them off in a silent auction and that money is used to support the underserved youth and adults in the community of Menifee. We look at the need in the community. We support the Boys & Girls Club and domestic violence shelters in the area. We award citizenship awards and also send students to Rotary Youth Leadership, a three-day conference for high school juniors. We have the tried and true fundraising that we have, but we are also looking for new opportunities out there.”

Zimmerman explained why the event is called the Menifee Mayor’s Charity Gala. “They called it the Mayor’s Ball but I asked them if they would change it to the Mayor’s Charity Gala so people could realize it’s a fundraiser for a good cause, and I’m not really the one in charge of it.”

He said Rotary, with its motto, ‘Service Above Self,’ raises money to not only help local causes but also overseas. They donate money to churches in South America and Africa, and have installed flooring in schools that had dirt floors. Money being raised that night benefits all types of underprivileged people.

Zimmerman added, “I am so proud of Menifee’s Rotary Club for tonight’s event here. It turned out to be such a beautiful evening here at the Fairfield Inn and they have decorated it so beautifully. I’m grateful and hope it’s a real success.”

Karwin, a Rotary member, introduced many of the evening’s guests including a representative of State Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, Senator Kelly Seyarto, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, Menifee Councilmembers Lesa Sobek and Dean Deines, city council members from surrounding cities, school officials and many other community leaders. He made a special announcement, thanking the many major sponsors of the event including Brookfield Homes, a top sponsor.

Tony Ault can be reached at