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The Fair Housing Center transforms The Pinnacle in Maumee, Ohio into the French Quarter of New Orleans on February 15, 2007.  The Center will host a Mardi Gras party complete with costumes, music by the KGB, a strolling magician, festive drinks, and Cajun food with Mardi Gras beads.

Lisa Rice and Michael P. Marsh at the 2006 Fair Housing Center Mardi Gras


This is the sixth year for the event, and Center officials say it has quickly become one of Toledo’s most anticipated parties of the year.  “Last year we had about 300 people turn out for the event,” said Michael P. Marsh, Vice President, Development and Public Relations for the non-profit agency, “and judging by the positive response, this year is bound to be bigger and better.  People are really excited about the event and talking it up to their friends.”


The Center began hosting fund raisers a few years ago as a way to offset cuts in government funding.  “We’ve experienced a decline in government grants by over 50% in the last few years.  Our fund raisers are a way to help make up the difference and ensure that we can provide services for our clients,” explained Marsh. 


Over the years, the Center has hosted auctions, awards ceremonies, and welcomed NAACP Chairman Julian Bond to town.


“A few years ago, we decided it was time to have a party—something that people could really get excited about going to,” explained Marsh.  “This has become our signature event, and it’s a way for us to celebrate equal opportunity and recognize the many different cultures that make up not only New Orleans and Toledo, but also our great nation as a whole,” he added. 


The event promises to be a fun filled evening with dancing to the sounds of the KGB Motown band.  Local television personalities Jerry Anderson and Chrys Peterson will oversee a costume contest.  Strolling magician Martin Jarret will do magic tricks, astrologer Janet Amid will give readings, and guests will be encouraged to bid on items from local artists and businesses during a live and silent auction. 


The Women of the Old West End and several other concerned citizens and organizations established the Fair Housing Center in 1975 to combat discriminatory practices in housing that were destroying Toledo’s neighborhoods. 


Since its inception, the Center has investigated over 8,840 allegations of housing discrimination, recovered over $26.9 million in damages for the victims and demonstrated a talent for setting national precedents that have expanded housing opportunities for millions of Americans across the country.


According to Marsh, the Center provides services to a few hundred clients every year and also refers thousands of people to other agencies for assistance, when appropriate.  “Sometimes we are the only place that people can turn to for help.  We are grateful to the many donors and friends who make contributions and attend our events. They literally help us keep our doors open,” he said.


Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased by calling the Fair Housing Center at (419) 243-6163.  The event will be held at the Pinnacle in Maumee from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2007.






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