Fundraiser falls short of goal to give away home
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
A plan to give away a home while raising money for charity has fallen short of its goal, but organizers are prepared to draw for alternative prizes and continue the fundraiser in hope of giving away the home at a later date.
Ticket holders for the Forbes Foundation Dream Home in Paradise Fundraiser are being advised to hold on to their stubs because they are still eligible to win, said Suzan Forbes, president of Forbes Foundation Hawaii, which is conducting the fundraiser.
The foundation has collected just under $200,000 in donations and its goal was to raise $2.5 million. On its website, the organization said in its rules and regulations that it would give away the home if it collected $750,000.
But the foundation hasn't given up hope and will decide tomorrow whether to give the home away or a lesser prize, Forbes said.
"We're putting out a huge appeal on TV," she said. "We're going to throw it on the Internet. We're asking everyone would you please donate by Saturday at 5 p.m. because that determines the level of prize that we give away."
Forbes said she would like 30,000 more donors giving $25 each. She said she's spent $75,000 of her own money to promote the fundraiser and has borrowed money to cover the expense.
Money raised will go to the Kidney Foundation, Rotary Clubs that have helped with the fundraiser and Pālama Settlement, Forbes said.
As of yesterday, the foundation had collected enough to award a home interior makeover, she said.
Police acknowledge they have questioned Forbes, who said she has abided by Hawai'i's strict gambling laws.
"The reason I'm allowed to continue is I followed every rule and did everything correctly and I never hid anything from them," Forbes said.
The attorney general's office said it required the foundation to make some rule changes after it became aware of the fundraiser in mid-March.
Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones said the foundation had to disclose that it does not own the home, name the alternative prizes if it could not raise enough money to award the home, agree to refund any donations upon request made prior to mid-March, clearly disclose that participation was free and have written consent to use the names of the nonprofit groups that would benefit from the raffle.
"To the best of my knowledge, they did abide by our request," Jones said. "If anyone feels they were misled by the raffle procedure they can file a complaint with our office."
At least one donor was concerned.
Susie Yap-Harris of Kaimukī said she is still waiting for her tickets and hopes they will come before tomorrow. Yap-Harris said she sent two checks April 12 and her bank said they have not cleared.
"My girlfriend she already got the ticket," she said. "Me, I don't got and I don't know who I going turn to."
Forbes said requests received by tomorrow before the 5 p.m. drawing will have tickets attached to them, making them eligible to win.