Question: Whatever happened to the fundraiser last year that promised to give away a home to a person holding the winning ticket?
Answer: The Forbes Foundation is continuing a second round of its fundraiser and tickets given in last year’s round of the fundraiser are still valid, said foundation President Suzan Forbes.
The foundation is scaling back the grand prize to a less expensive home than what was offered in the first round, allowing the foundation to give homes away more often. Currently, the foundation has a contract to buy a two-bedroom condo in Central Oahu after enough donations have been raised to cover its cost, which Forbes did not disclose.
Forbes said the foundation also made two other changes. The winner has a choice between the condo or placing 50 percent of the condo’s value toward paying down a mortgage. The other change is that donors can select which nonprofit will receive half of their donations.
Hugh Jones, a deputy attorney general, said the foundation raised $254,000 last year in the home contest.
Forbes said she didn’t keep any of the money and used it on postage, legal fees and donations to other nonprofits.
Forbes said she started the fundraiser to help needy people. She has sent soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan hundreds of boxes of clothes and school supplies for the children in the community.
The foundation also donated to the Kids Talk Story program at Palama Settlement, various Rotary Clubs in Hawaii, and the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii. The exact amounts, however, were not immediately available.
Chet Dal Santo, treasurer of the Rotary Club of Hawaii Kai, said the Forbes Foundation has taught youths in Hawaii Girls Court how to build computers.
“I think it’s a great organization,” he said.
Forbes said the fundraiser raises money by asking people to donate $25 for a ticket.
Because of the state’s strict gambling laws, however, anyone can receive a ticket for free, Jones said.
Forbes said the first round of the fundraiser, which had several problems after starting in late 2009, was “overwhelming.” She was fielding more than 200 calls and 800 emails a day.
By the time the randomly selected winner was announced in May, the foundation hadn’t raised enough money to give away a $600,000 home. The foundation offered the winner a home makeover instead, but he turned it down in July.
Forbes continued raising money. She says the website for the foundation, forbesfoundationhawaii.org, will be online by May 1, and hopes to raise $5 million in donations.
“My goal is to keep going as long as the people of Hawaii allow,” she said. “The needs are still there.”
This article was compiled by Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Shikina. Suggest a topic for “Whatever Happened To …” by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or email email@example.com.