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Viejas Casino Gives $100,000 Anniversary Gift to Charities

ALPINE , Viejas Casino marked its 10th anniversary in September, and as you’d expect, there was plenty of celebrating.

But charitable giving? That was the frosting on the cake.

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, who run the casino and adjacent outlet center near Interstate 8, decided the landmark anniversary would be a great time to offer something to those who do good in the region.

To that end, the tribe split $100,000 among 10 charitable organizations. They are:

– Neighborhood House Association

– San Diego Youth and Community Services

– Hospital Infantil de las Californias

– Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee

– Indian Human Resource Center

– A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center

– Mama’s Kitchen

– Jackie Robinson YMCA

– Urban Corps of San Diego

– Union of Pan Asian Communities.

Viejas presented the $10,000 donations to charity representatives at a Sept. 15 reception in the casino’s DreamCatcher Showroom.

The gaming tribe also used the occasion to honor community leaders from a variety of fields.

Recognized during the reception were Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, Herb Klein of Copley Newspapers and Superintendent Alan Bersin of the San Diego Unified School District.

Also recognized were Sheriff Bill Kolender, American Indian scholar Florence Shipek, concert promoter Bill Silva and Sycuan Vice Chairman Danny Tucker.

Honored as well were Luis Natividad, founder of the Latina/Latino Unity Coalition; Fran Butler-Cohen, executive director of the Logan Heights Family Health Center; and businesspeople Tom Dyke, Harold Lewis and Tina Lewis. Dyke, who runs Tom C. Dyke Drilling and Blasting in Alpine, was cited for his donations of time and money to youth activities. The Lewises, who own and run eight McDonald’s franchises, are active in nonprofit initiatives, notably the Avail Scholarship Program.

The festivities were not limited to the mid-September reception.

The 2,500 Viejas employees participated in daily cash drawings in September.

But it was casino patrons who took the cake, in the form of various 10th anniversary promotions. All told, the casino gave away $500,000 worth of cash and prizes.

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