Summit Daily’s Playhouse Project raises $10,000 for affordable housing efforts at the Family & Intercultural Resource Center |

Summit Daily’s Playhouse Project raises $10,000 for affordable housing efforts at the Family & Intercultural Resource Center

Marcus Sandberg, of Campbell Construction, makes final touches on a playhouse Thursday, June 27, in Dillon.
Hugh Carey /

FRISCO — The Playhouse Project, a public art exhibit and fundraiser, collected $10,000 for the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, which will put the money toward affordable housing programs.

The exhibit was put on by the Summit Daily News and included five playhouses made by local builders that were on display for six weeks at Marina Park in Dillon, which hosted the project.

The playhouses were a hit with local kids, Summit Daily News publisher Meg Boyer said. In fact, the exhibit was so popular that the playhouses had to be restored to their original condition — including painting and other maintenance — ahead of the online auction.

Playhouse auction proceeds totaled $10,000, and the Summit Daily News presented a check to the Family & Intercultural Resource Center on Monday.

The money will be used for the Housing Works Initiative, a partnership among the Resource Center, The Summit Foundation and Omni Real Estate. The initiative works to address the rental housing shortage and high cost of living in Summit County, with the goal of increasing stability for working families. 

“We started (the initiative) because 93% of the workforce in Summit earns $50,000 or less and that leaves a sizable deficit,” said Brianne Snow, executive director of the Resource Center. “We know that the community is really trying to address the needs, so this is just one piece of the larger puzzle.”

The Housing Works Initiative has 32 units in the affordable housing program. Snow said one way the organization will use the donation is to extend its reach and build partnerships with homeowners and property management companies that are willing to convert their units from short-term vacation rentals to long-term leases for Summit County employees.

Snow also said the donation will contribute to the subsidies given to those in the program who can’t meet the full rent amount or initial payments. 

The Summit Daily News presented the Family & Intercultural Resource Center with a check for $10,000 on Monday at Marina Park in Dillon, which hosted the project. The Playhouse Project presenting sponsor was the Summit Association of Realtors. Pictured from left are Summit Daily editor Nicole Miller, Summit Daily advertising director Ian Donovan, Summit Daily publisher Meg Boyer, Family & Intercultural Resource Center community resource coordinator Caitlin Johnson, FIRC executive director Brianne Snow, FIRC supportive services manager Michel Infante, Dillon marketing and communications director Kerstin Anderson and Dillon marketing and events coordinator Suzanne Phillipson.
Liz Copan /

“We know that many of our working families in Summit are severely rent burdened,” Snow said. “We’re just trying to basically increase the health of our community.”

A family might be given $100 to $200 per month over the course of a year to catch up on rent payments. 

“It’s really exciting for us to see this program grow because we have families that are working here as teachers and mechanics and librarians and paramedics, and now they get to stay where they love, where their children go to school. So we’re just really proud that we can be part of the solution,” Snow said.

A major supporter of the project was Copper Mountain Resort, which bought three of the five playhouses.

“The intention of the contribution is to support FIRC’s affordable housing program, which is also a key initiative for Copper Mountain … ,” Copper spokeswoman Taylor Prather wrote in an email.

Two of the three playhouses at Copper are open in Center Village. In the winter, all three playhouses will be put in the Snow Playground, formerly known as Critterland, in the resort’s East Village.

The Playhouse Project, the presenting sponsor of which was the Summit Association of Realtors, will continue in 2020, Boyer said. Two builders are confirmed for next year’s project, and Boyer is looking for more building volunteers.

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