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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 5:32 am | Fair 42º


Firefighters Are Winners in Cate, Thatcher Fundraising Contest

March Magic trick pulls $20,000 out of hat for first responders

Carpinteria Fire Chief Ray Navarro accepts check on behalf of the Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection Unit and Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance.
Carpinteria Fire Chief Ray Navarro accepts check on behalf of the Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection Unit and Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance. (Courtesy photo)

Every March, Cate School and its historic Ojai rival, The Thacher School engage in a friendly fundraising competition they call March Magic.

Both schools tally up the number of donations from their respective graduates of the last decade, known as GOLD alumni. The winner receives bragging rights, but both schools benefit from the spirited engagement with their young alumni.

This year, the parameters of March Magic remained the same, but the purpose was changed. Cate and Thacher challenged their alumni to give in honor of the men and women who kept their communities safe during the Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flow.

Cate’s campus was a staging ground for firefighters who protected Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for weeks.

Thanks to donors from both schools, Cate and Thacher received challenge grants to be given on behalf of the schools to organizations of their choice. The benchmarks were set: $10,000 would be unlocked at 60 percent participation; $20,000 would be unlocked at 70 percent.

In the end, Cate’s GOLD alumni reach 78 percent.

“On behalf of the School and the Cate Alumni Association, we are so thankful for the generosity of the community's youngest alumni, said Andrew MacDonnell, Cate director of alumni relations.

"Spurred by the incredible matching gift made by Tim Bliss '70, Cate's graduates of the last decade (classes 2008-2017) made a record 557 contributions in 31 days,” he said.

Headmaster Ben Williams presented the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance and the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection Unit with a check for $20,000 on April 27, during the Friday assembly of Cate School’s Family Weekend.

Ian Matner, representing the Firefighters Alliance and Fire Chief Ray Navarro said that while the Thomas Fire presented enormous challenges for the firefighters involved, it was all part of the job.

The money will be used to update equipment and ensure that departments from Carpinteria to Goleta would be prepared to battle future blazes.

— Joe Gottwald for Cate School.


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