Clovis News

Granville homes in on hope with Valley fundraiser

This 1,630-square-foot house on a corner lot in northwest Fresno has been built with much more than just one family in mind.

When it is raffled off this fall, it's expected to generate enough money to help pay college expenses for former foster children, provide food for struggling families, and even shelter the homeless.

Granville Homes held a grand-opening celebration Saturday of its "Home of Hope" -- a fundraiser now in its fifth year. The house, valued at about $284,000, is being donated to help raise money for eight local nonprofits through the sale of $100 raffle tickets.

The goal is to sell 5,000 tickets, which would raise $500,000 for the nonprofits. Last year, 3,500 were sold, raising $350,000.

Many of the nonprofit organizations are in desperate need of money as the economy continues to struggle and donations have declined.

"Our programs may not continue without Granville Homes' support," said Kizzy Lopez, program coordinator for Renaissance Scholars. The program, based at Fresno State, provides financial support and housing for former foster children to help them obtain a college degree.

Renaissance has helped 42 former foster children further their education since the program was launched with grant money two years ago. But the program is running out of time and funds -- the grant expires in one year. The Home of Hope is critical to helping Renaissance Scholars survive, Lopez said.

Over the past few years, the Home of Hope has raised more than $1.6 million -- money that has provided more than 800,000 meals, clothed more than 3,800 children and provided scholarships and grants for more than 20,000 students.

"It is huge for us," said Marcus Johnson, superintendent for Sanger Unified School District. The small, rural school district east of Fresno has received more than $60,000 over the past two years from Home of Hope -- money that has helped low-income families and provided classroom grants to teachers.

Darius Assemi, head of Granville Homes, said he began the fundraiser in 2006 in reaction to community need.

"We know how to build homes, and we want to use those resources to generate revenue in our Valley," he said. In addition to Granville's donation, many local subcontractors donate their work to build Home of Hope.

All but one of the past four home winners have chosen to keep their homes. Last year's winner is selling the home, Assemi said. But it doesn't matter, he said, because the tickets are sold and the money has been raised.

This year's home is in the La Ventana community near Bullard and Grantland avenues.

It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a three-car garage. It is part of Granville's Eco-Smart line of homes, providing up to 40% more energy efficiency than most new homes built today, the builder says.

The home, at 6096 N. Sycamore Ave., will be open for viewing on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The drawing for the home takes place at noon Sept. 18.

In addition to Renaissance Scholars and Sanger Unified's Foundation, the nonprofits that will benefit from this year's fundraiser are: Community Food Bank, Poverello House, Assistance League, Hinds Hospice and the foundations for Clovis and Central schools.