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April 17, 2014

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Monopoly-themed party opens community chest for Shade Tree

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Entertainers at Club Curry’s “Monopoly Mansion” charity event drew costume inspiration from the classic card games. Hosted by the nonprofit Club Curry at entrepreneur Mark Curry’s Anthem Country Club home, the Saturday event gave partygoers a chance to purchase Monopoly-themed properties, with the proceeds going to benefit the Shade Tree shelter for women and children.

Monopoly Charity Party

Property cards for sale at Saturday night's Launch slideshow »

Inside a lavish mansion in the hills of Anthem Country Club, men in top hats serve hors d'oeuvres while women dressed as police officers threaten to take partygoers to jail, where bail is always $50.

Around the living room, cards representing properties from Boardwalk to Mediterranean Avenue line the walls, waiting to be bought by the attendees.

But instead of buying real estate, money spent at Saturday night’s “Monopoly Mansion” will be used to buy needed supplies at the Shade Tree shelter for women and children in North Las Vegas.

Hosted by local entrepreneur Mark Curry and his nonprofit Club Curry, the party borrowed its theme from the board game, combining a sophisticated evening of cocktails and food with a nightclub atmosphere, all to support a charitable cause that raised over $100,000 for Shade Tree.

“My hope is this reinforces the fact that even with this economy, people are willing to give back,” said Curry, who also spends time volunteering with Shade Tree. “I think it’s important to give back to the community. ... We’re doing a fundraiser party, taking resources we were putting toward something that was fun and using them for something good.”

Curry, founder of the financial services company MacFarlane Group, opened his Anthem mansion to 170 guests and covered the party’s overhead, allowing all of the donated money to go directly to Shade Tree.

Club Curry has staged fundraising parties in the past three years and previously supported the nonprofit Child Focus before switching this year to Shade Tree, which faces a deep budget deficit and may be forced to cut services.

Founded in 1990, Shade Tree provides a range of services to women and children in the Las Vegas Valley, including short- and long-term shelters, services to victims of abuse, counseling sessions, and job- and life-skills training. The nonprofit helped 4,200 women and children last year, including providing nightly shelter to 320 people.

“We started talking with Club Curry about what our needs were, and I said, ‘If we don’t fix our budget deficit, we’re going to start closing parts of our program,'” Shade Tree executive director Marlene Richter said. “Mark (Curry) said, ‘How can I help?’”

Richter said the agency faced a budget deficit of several hundred thousand dollars, partially because of the recession, which increased needs for the shelter’s services but also saw donors cutting back on giving.

Club Curry administrative director Travis Kelso said that after touring and volunteering at Shade Tree, the staff began working with the shelter to find out what was needed and began fitting those needs into the Monopoly board game.

Each of the 22 properties on the Monopoly board was given a specific price and good that would be purchased, with different colors representing different parts of the Shade Tree operation, such as its medical clinic or its animal shelter.

Each of the 170 guests was given $200, the price paid for admission, upon arrival. The money could be used to purchase properties or raffle cards.

A $2,100 donation bought Virginia Avenue and covered 100 school uniforms for kids staying at Shade Tree.

A $10,000 donation purchased North Carolina Avenue and food for the shelter, while the $38,000 needed to buy both Park Place and Boardwalk would help provide rent and 24-hour guard service for the shelter.

After acquiring all properties of the same color — either through purchase or partnering with other players — partygoers were eligible to win a variety of prizes, including gym memberships, stays at the Palazzo, gift baskets and other gift certificates.

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