Cuban Liquor, the locally owned retailer of fine spirits and gourmet foods, recently conducted a raffle of rare and highly sought-after bourbons, which raised more than $28,000 for United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s (UWNWLA) educational program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
The majority of the funds raised from the raffle will aid UWNWLA in meeting its $250,000 goal to renew the Imagination Library where it’s currently offered. However, a portion of the funds will be used to enroll pre-k students attending Westwood Elementary into the program in an effort to propel the Imagination Library into new regions where it would be most impactful.
Studies show that 50 percent of children in Northwest Louisiana enter kindergarten without the tools needed to be successful in school and later in life. As the largest provider in the state, UWNWLA enables the Imagination Library to mail a new, age-appropriate book each month to children’s homes at zero cost to the children’s families. Children can be enrolled in the program at birth and own a library of up to 60 books by the time they enter kindergarten, ensuring they have the proper developmental tools for school readiness.
“We are honored to have been the chosen nonprofit for Cuban Liquor’s Rare Whiskey Charity Raffle,” said UWNWLA President & CEO LaToria “Tori” Thomas. “Thanks to Cuban and our community’s generosity, these funds will sponsor more than 560 children in the Imagination Library. We are grateful for our community’s support around the program this year, as having books in the home is instrumental to our children’s development and future. And it’s our goal for all children, especially those whose families see books as a luxury, to have the opportunity to be successful in school.”
Each year, Cuban organizes its Rare Whiskey Charity Raffle to fairly sell its allocation of rare bourbons. For nine days, customers purchased $5 raffle tickets at Cuban for a chance to win the right to purchase bottles with no secondary markups. The bottles included Pappy Van Winkle, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, Blanton’s, Weller, and more. The raffle culminated in a Facebook live drawing on March 3rd, where customers tuned in to see if they held a winning ticket.
“Liquor stores across the country are faced with tough choices of how to sell the very limited number of popular bourbons they receive each year,” said Grant Nuckolls, co-owner of Cuban Liquor. “For over a year, we planned this raffle, collecting 125 allocated and rare bourbons. We are committed to selling these products at normal retail pricing, with no so-called ‘secondary’ markups. The response from our customers was overwhelmingly positive – they appreciated a chance to purchase these bottles at a fair price, and they welcomed the opportunity to donate to a local nonprofit in the process.”
“We were blown away at the response of our customers and so thankful we could raise this money for United Way,” noted Andrew Crawford, co-owner of Cuban Liquor. “Tori Thomas and her team make a huge impact by fighting for the health, education, financial stability, and essential needs of every person in our community.”
The Imagination Library is currently offered in 71004, 71006, 71064, 71103, 71106, 71109, 71111, and 71112 of Caddo and Bossier Parishes, and all of Desoto, Red River, Sabine, Natchitoches, and Webster Parishes. UWNWLA will need additional funds to expand the program throughout all Northwest Louisiana.
To learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, please visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/ourfocus/education/dolly-partons-imagination-library/.