FUSION 2010: Under the Tuscan Sun | SLIDESHOW

This year’s FUSION summer arts festival, themed “Under the Tuscan Sun,” was held Aug. 4 at Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way. The festival featured plenty of local art, live and silent auctions, Italian food and entertainment.

FUSION — which stands for Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy — is in its 17th year. The money raised at the FUSION summer arts festival helps homeless women and children in the area live more self-sufficiently.

Last year’s festival raised more than $90,000. This year, the group set a goal of $120,000.

“We’re very proud that in recent years, over 85 percent of our clients have successfully moved on to permanent housing,” FUSION founder Peggy LaPorte said. “The support of the community really enables FUSION to empower families so they can become stable and self-sufficient.”

For the 2010 festival, in-kind donations include catering by Metropolitan Market, wine from Barefoot Winery and coffee from Poverty Bay. Susie Horan, the manager of Prudential Realty Northwest, was the event’s emcee. Keith Eldridge and Ron Hannon served as the auctioneers.

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FUSION started in 1993 after a group of women came up with an idea to help the homeless. Focusing their work on women with children, they began a grass-roots effort to raise money. In two years, they purchased a one bedroom condo, and its first residents were a mother and her infant, victims of domestic violence.

In January 2009, FUSION merged with the Joseph Foundation. Joseph Foundation has a similar mission, but instead of focusing on women and children, the non-profit works with both single and dual parent families.

FUSION now operates 15 transitional housing units, 11 condos and four homes from property bequeathed by Helen and Stuart Noyes to the Joseph Foundation. The original FUSION condominiums continue to house primarily women and their children. The houses in Northeast Tacoma serve dual and single parent families, whether head of the household is a mother or father.

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