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Sacramento builds fund-raising playhouses.

FUND-RAISING TOOK A surprising twist in Sacramento last April. The bright colors and imaginative designs of 13 playhouses greeted shoppers and enlivened the Arden Fair Mall. Child-scaled mansions, fire stations, Ninja Turtle forts, farm-houses, and completely furnished Victorian houses filled the main enclosure.

Putting these custom-built structures in this unlikely but highly visible setting was part of an inspired fund-raising auction called Playhouse Parade '91. The effort was coordinated by the Sacramento chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children battling life-threatening diseases. It provides youngsters with opportunities to meet sports celebrities, visit Disneyland, even receive their own computers. Last year, the Sacramento chapter brightened the lives of 124 children.

The group approached home-building businesses in the greater Sacramento area and asked them to design, build, and donate the play-houses. The structures would be exhibited, then auctioned off to raise money for the foundation. Thirteen companies agreed to participate, and a community-wide network of tradespeople shared expenses and skills.

The resulting playhouses were as well finished as most houses--with custom windows (acrylic panes instead of glass), complete but scaled-down doors, elaborately shingled roofs, top-of-the-line floor coverings and moldings, and carefully painted interior and exterior walls. The furnishings were custom-crafted.

The builders were asked to make the playhouses portable, since they had to be fabricated, moved to the mall, and the moved again after being sold at the auction. The main section of each playhouse could be no higher than 6 feet and no larger than 8 by 10 feet, but additional sections could be used.

After a month on display in the mall, the playhouses were put up on the block and auctioned off for a total of $70,000. The most elaborate structure, a reproduction of the Stanford Mansion by Larchmont Homes, attracted the highest bid: $10,000. It will be installed at a public park in Sacramento. The rest of the structures headed for back yards.

For more information on how this project was organized, call Ronnie Saaeke of the Make-A-Wish Foundation at (916) 448-9474.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:California fund raising event
Publication:Sunset
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:343
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