The Laingsburg Educational Advancement Foundation netted more than $16,500 as it kicked off the celebration of its 25th anniversary during its eighth-annual Reverse Raffle fundraiser held recently at Eagle Eye Golf Club, its largest profit ever by more than $5,000. The event – which was a sell-out for the second time with only 160 raffle tickets available – raises money for grants for Laingsburg Community Schools teachers, student groups and staff.

The $3,000 grand-prize winner was Matthew Perry of Laingsburg. Tess Clarkson, also of Laingsburg, received $500 as the second-to-last name drawn.

Several other winners took home a total of $1,000 in cash or more than $10,000 worth of non-cash prizes such as golf packages, artwork and crafts from area artists, gift certificates to local businesses and Lugnuts suite passes. There were also side games, including 50/50 drawings and second-chance raffles.

The raffle has generated more than $77,000 in its eight-year run. This year, LEAF gave more than $15,000 in grants to LCS, thanks to fundraisers like the raffle, according to Dane Nickols, LEAF Board Member and reverse raffle chair.

Nickols was honored during the event for being the longest-serving board member and one of the foundation’s founders.

Emceeing the event were LEAF Past-President Carrie Rathbun Hawks, LEAF Reverse Raffle Founder Doug Perry and 2014 Laingsburg Community Schools’ Wall of Fame Inductee Tom Turek.

“We especially want to thank Eagle Eye's owners and managers who helped us tremendously by donating some of their fees,” said Nickols. “We couldn’t have had as much success without them. The myriad donors who provide significant items for our silent auction and prize list are also key to helping us support our kids and teachers.”

Next year, organizers have decided to increase the number of tickets available to 175. LEAF will use the net proceeds of the raffle to continue to support innovative educational opportunities for Laingsburg students. For a list of funded projects, visit www.leaf4kids.com.

LEAF is a Michigan nonprofit corporation and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that provides grants to teachers and students within the Laingsburg Community Schools. Since its inception in 1992, LEAF has given out more than $350,000 in grants.