Budget cuts at youth programs and community centers across town were on Kim Ferraro’s mind when she was on a trip to Montana last year. Ferraro is the executive director of the West Central Community Center which, like the other community centers, has seen significant cuts in the funding it receives from the city. Ferraro especially worried about how to continue funding for the center’s youth programs.
“Then I read about a hospital in Montana doing a fundraiser by selling playhouses and I thought, ‘Hey, we could try that in Spokane,’ ” said Ferraro.
And that’s how she came up with the idea for “Playhouse Project Spokane – For Our Kids.”
The concept is simple: Ask builders to construct and donate amazing playhouses and auction them off as a fundraiser.
“I don’t think it’s been done like this before in Spokane,” Ferraro said.
Programs for at-risk youth at Northeast Youth Center, Peaceful Valley Community Center and West Central Community Center will receive the proceeds from the playhouse sale.
The first part of the fundraiser is a drawing contest asking children under 12 to draw their dream playhouse and submit the design for a chance to win an iPad mini.
“The winning piece of art will be auctioned off at our silent auction in April,” Ferraro said.
Drawings may be dropped off at West Central Community Center until 5 p.m. Friday.
The Spokane Home Builders Association is one of the sponsors and Ferraro said local home builders and architects are already working on designing and building playhouses.
Nine finished playhouses will be auctioned on April 13 at a cocktail party and auction held during Spokane’s Premier Home Improvement Show at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. A tenth playhouse will be raffled off at the same event. All the finished playhouses will be on display at the Home Improvement Show.
Ferraro said raffle tickets are on sale at local Rosauers supermarkets and at the community centers that benefit from Playhouse Project Spokane.
This year’s goal is to raise as much money as possible for the youth programs.
“I have dreams of making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but probably not this first year,” said Ferraro, laughing. “This is going to become an annual event and we’ll slowly build on it from here.”