When local governments are falling far short of their desired budgets and school districts across the country are cutting once essential programs just to stay open, parents, students and affected communities are starting to get creative. Instead of waiting for new revenue to come in through tax hikes or ballot proposals, many groups are taking a proactive approach to fill the budget gaps.

While some communities are standing by traditional fundraising techniques, such as car washes and bake sales, other communities are going for the gold, participating in high stakes fundraising in hopes of high stakes returns.

One such group based in Orange County, California Irvine Public Schools Foundation, currently raffling a house worth $700,000!

While a traditional raffle might offer small value tickets to a large number of individuals for a mid-level prize, a high value raffle involves selling a limited number of high value tickets for a very coveted grand prize such as a house or large cash payoff. The tickets for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation raffle are $150 each.

While the tickets may be out of some buyer’s budgets, the foundation has provided other opportunities so everyone in the community can contribute. In addition to the raffle, a fundraisng concert is also being held. Tickets to the event are between $12 – $15, and raffle ticket holders get in for free. The whole community gets to participate.

Other communities are also getting creative. In Cupertino, California  parents got together and raised $2 million dollars for their local school district in less than two months. Some of this was done through traditional fundraisers like garage sales and silent auctions. The parents also asked each member of the school community to donate a specific amount of money. Again, in this fundraiser, no one was left out. If one family couldn’t donate, a family with more means stepped in and contributed on their behalf.

The money will go to save over 100 teachers jobs.

While times are especially tough on education, glimmers of hope can be found when teachers, parents and communities get creative with their fundraising efforts.