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Charity to Raffle Off $2.45 Million Gold Coast Penthouse

By Emily Morris | January 28, 2013 3:26pm

CHICAGO — Looking to move to the Gold Coast but can't afford it?

For the cost of a $150 raffle ticket, you could win a swanky, $2.45 million Gold Coast penthouse.

The raffle is expected to raise cash for the Hope Institute for Children and Families, a nonprofit that works to provide services for people ages 5 to 21 affected by developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders.

With more than 1,200 prizes, the Dream House Raffle is the institute's largest fundraiser.

The penthouse is being offered by a "generous" supporter of the organization, a spokeswoman said. The 3,900 square-foot penthouse has two floors, a 150-bottle wine fridge and three fireplaces, according to the raffle's website.

The fundraiser also offers the familiar face of someone who certainly knows how to give prizes, Chicago-native and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, the celebrity spokesman for the organization.

Early bird tickets to win one of the goodies, including the grand prize — the Gold Coast home or $1.5 million in cash — go on sale Monday.

The Institute, based in Springfield, has a campus in the capital as well as the Hope Institute Learning Academy on the Near West Side of Chicago. About 80 percent of the kids come from the Chicago area, said Chief Development Officer Tom LeClair.

Its first raffle, which offered up a home in suburban Hinsdale, brought in about $50,000 to benefit the institute's programs, LeClair said.

"The money will be used for programs in Chicago to continue to hire the best staff and to help redesign our campus in Springfield," LeClair said about this year's raffle.

LeClair said he's also particularly excited to have Pat Sajak, of Wheel of Fortune fame, as the organization's new celebrity spokesman. Sajak was recently in Chicago to meet with some of the kids at the Learning Academy, 1628 W. Washington Blvd.

"I've never met a kinder, nicer [or] funnier man," LeClair said. "He's great with the kids, great with the staff."

The June 9 grand prize drawing will take place in Springfield, though winners do not need to attend to claim a prize. Deadlines to win early bird prizes are on March 1, March 29 and April 26.

Those who want to purchase tickets and visit the website or call 1-800-697-7734.