Nonprofit sponsors home giveaway
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
For a $25 donation , you can have a chance to win a new house on O'ahu valued at $500,000.
The Rotary Club of Hawai'i Kai and the National Kidney Foundation will benefit from this fundraiser organized by the Forbes Foundation Hawaii.
The nonprofit organization has no affiliation with other Forbes companies or foundations and was formed in 1998 to refurbish computers and donate them to students.
The goal of the Dream Home in Paradise Fundraiser is to distribute 100,000 tickets and collect $2.5 million in donations. Under Hawai'i law, tickets must be available at no charge but people may make donations to the ticket provider.
Home giveaways to raise money for charity are not new. A quick Internet search revealed four luxury homes available on the Mainland.
Not much is being revealed about the O'ahu home or its location, on advice of the foundation's attorney, to avoid unwanted squatters or the curious, said Suzan Forbes, president of the foundation. But Forbes said she is releasing a clue a week. The first two clues?
• The home is not on the Wai'anae Coast.
• It has central air conditioning.
"Whoever gets this home is not going to be disappointed," she said.
Several rotary clubs on O'ahu are distributing tickets and will share in the profits, depending on how much in donations they collect, said Chet Dal Santo, president of the Rotary Club of Hawai'i Kai.
Dal Santo said Forbes offered the idea to the rotary club and has helped launch it.
"We've been working with her for two years ... to make sure it's all done correctly," Dal Santo said.
Forbes said she has had consultations with the state attorney general's office and hired an attorney to make sure the project does not run afoul of Hawai'i's strict gambling laws.
An official with the attorney general's office could not be reached yesterday because the office was on furlough.
Niu Valley resident Linda Knight said she didn't hesitate when asked by a rotary club member to make a $25 donation because the club is legitimate and its work benefits the community.
"If they can raise money that way, that's good for them," Knight said. "They'll use it in a good way."
Some of the proceeds will go to the Kidney Foundation, whose leaders have known Forbes and her husband, Henry deButts, for five years, said Diana Pinard, Kidney Foundation director of organizational planning and operations. The Kidney Foundation was able to advise Forbes and point her toward people with expertise, Pinard said.
"You have to be very careful that you don't cross any of the lines whenever you do a fundraiser in Hawai'i because of our gambling laws," Pinard said. "She's run it by judges, police officer, vice cops. She's really done an exceptional job of making sure that everything is just the way it should be."
Kim Soares, who made a donation and received tickets, said she responded to an e-mail plea even though she has a home because she supports Rotary and the work it does in the community. But the fundraiser could also help a family, Soares said.
"Everybody should buy a ticket because everybody should have a chance to own a home," she said.
Tickets are available on the Internet or by mail. The drawing for the home is May 1, but many luxury prizes will be given away beginning this month.
The Forbes Foundation funds other projects, including providing computers for Girls Court and an agriculture project for schools, but the foundation would also like to help fund kidney testing for all Hawai'i residents, Forbes said.
"Our goal is to invest in Hawai'i," she said, adding that Hawai'i residents have always been very generous. "We can take care of other people after we take care of home."