Most builders are familiar with Habitat for Humanity, a generous non-profit organization that builds homes for deserving individuals. The philosophy behind it being that everyone deserves affordable and decent housing. Mike Holmes has adopted it as well with his Make It Right work that encompasses both high-integrity building projects (that have literally raised building code standards in Canada), as well as ongoing children’s charity support. And while these are popular examples of benevolence among builders, pockets of similar stories can be found at every corner of the industry.
Builder Online discussed this phenomenon reporting that even during the recession, even when other sectors had slowed, and even in the geographic epicenter of the fallout, builders maintained or exceeded their “levels of charitable activity.” The industry’s heart hasn’t changed. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing some remarkable examples of builders who care...a lot.
Construction Dive Recognizes US Builders Giving Back
This handful of examples was first collected for an article from our friends at Construction Dive. They shone a well-deserved spotlight on US builders from Boston to Houston who are giving back to their communities.
Consigli Construction Company Builds Beds for Children
With the website headline “Genuine Builders,” Consigli Construction keeps finding new ways to contribute to their Boston community. The company developed the Consigli Foundation that involves itself in year-round fundraising for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the Cambridge Family and Children’s Service, Wentworth Institute of Technology, the American Red Cross, as well as local schools. They also recently got involved in a city-wide campaign with the Boston Cares Bed Project, to build more than 1500 beds for children in need.
Shawmut Design and Construction Fundraising Plus Food Drives
Also showing Boston’s heart, Shawmut Design and Construction participates in both creative and traditional ways of giving. The recently raised nearly $140,000 for research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through a two-day bike-a-thon. Shawmut’s team also got together to build a treehouse for a terminally-ill child in partnership with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapter of Make-a-Wish. The most unusual charity example in this article comes from Shawmut as well, who built left-shark out of canned goods as part of the Canstruction Rhode Island competition.
Construction Industry Advisory Council (CIAC) Donating Annually
This Texas University-based organization donates annually to relevant causes through the BUILD program, that turns shipping containers into portable medical clinics in honour of victims who died in a campus fire. Recently the CIAC pooled together $60,000 for BUILD, so they can set up many more life-saving medical services in developing countries.
TEXO Association + Schwob Building Company Come Together for “KIDstruction”
TEXO combines the Association of Builders and Contractors as well as the Associated General Contractors of America. Recently the organization came together with the Dallas-based Schwob Building Company to raise $56,000 during “KIDstruction week” for the Children’s Health System of Texas.
Windover Community Efforts are Part of the Company Culture
With its own employee-run Social Sustainability Committee, Windover’s charitable efforts are ingrained in its company culture. The committee focuses on four main areas including:
- Veteran Assistance
- Women, Children, Families
They put their money where their mouth is. Windover’s efforts have contributed significantly to new veteran housing projects and even backpacks for students. Windover employees also partnered with Build Health International to deliver boots and furniture to ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.
Windover’s CEO, Lee Dellicker, shares a vision similar to our own, he says:
“Connecting to a greater purpose beyond the bricks and mortar of construction allows us to be reminded of the importance of hope.”
Linbeck Group Donating Time and Money
This group of high-end and specialized builders finds many ways of partnering with worthy causes in the Houston area. Linbeck’s employees have raised $5,000 for organizations like the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Habitat for Humanity. They’ve also donated volunteer hours to the Houston Food Bank and the Fort Worth Ronald McDonald facilities.
Canadian Home Building Association (CHBA) Members Consistently Giving Nationwide
The next group of examples comes from the Canadian Home Building Association. Like its name suggests, the CHBA is made up of builders in Canada who specialize in residential construction and renovation. Each year this group of professionals bans together to raise money for various causes, from retrofitting houses for greater accessibility, to raising money for life-saving research.
Reid Heritage Homes Raises Money for Children’s Hospital
In June 2017, Reid’s Heritage Homes, a prominent member of The Guelph HBA chapter, helped raise money to develop the Nephrology Clinic for the McMaster’s Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. This was part of the Take a Ride for MacKids campaign. Since Reid’s was so successful and exceeded the target goal of $50 000, the additional funds were used to buy a new dialysis machine!
CHBA-Fraser Valley Responds to Wildfire Crisis
In July 2017, the CHBA-Fraser Valley chapter responded to a Facebook post asking for donations after thousands of people lost everything in the B.C. wildfires. The chapter rounded up a group of local volunteers and committee members who collectively brought a “small-apartment” worth of materials, including diapers, pallets of water and much more.
MHBA Renovate Home for Child with Scoliosis
In August 2017, the Manitoba HBA chapter performed extensive renovations on a family home to make it accessible to a 14-year-old named Delaney, who was left paralyzed from the waist down after unsuccessful Scoliosis-related spinal surgery. Hundreds of hours were spent reframing walls, reconfiguring plumbing/electrical, widening doorways and more. Members who couldn’t be onsite to help with the build contributed to the donation of over 7,000 square-feet of building materials like drywall, tiles and more.
Deveraux Homes Helps Spearhead Community Event
In November 2018, Saskatchewan-based CHBA member, Deveraux Homes, got involved in the Street Culture Project that helps at-risk youth access housing, education, and personal support. Together they developed a community Oktoberfest event, that in one day raised $146 000 while providing valuable work experience for youth involved with the organization.
For a full list of charitable initiatives the CHBA members are involved in click here.
Bonus Building-with-heart stories
In addition to the list above, we hand-selected two final examples of builders with heart who are making waves in their communities. But believe us, there are thousands of other small initiatives like this happening all the time in the building community, even right now as you read this!
Red Seal Homes Donating to Second Harvest Regularly
Red Seal Homes has been developing residences in Nashville and Illinois for generations. One of their latest Nashville developments, known as 2Aves, is building 58 townhouses at the Vernon and James Avenue intersection. Sounds like a typical Red Seal project, except this one has a purpose beyond the build. For every house sold in the project, Red Seal committed to providing two pantries of food for families in need. The program operates in partnership with the local Second Harvest Food Bank. Homeowners buying into the development are pleased that their new purchase is helping to bring about positive change in their community.
Hayden Homes Builds Housing for Teachers
A St. Francis of Assisi parish in Bend, Oregon, needed a residence to welcome new teachers and keep their location active. They’d been serving the community for 82 years, but couldn’t continue to operate without the help of residential development firm Hayden Homes. Known as one of the biggest construction companies in the Pacific Northwest, Hayden is no stranger to charitable operations. They’ve donated more than 13M USD to the registered housing non-profit First Story. So when the Oregon parish needed housing, Hayden didn’t hesitate to get involved. 3,200 square-feet later, the new convent has “6 bedrooms, four bathrooms, a Chapel, two laundry rooms, kitchen, dining and living areas.”
Be Nice to Builders
Sometimes it’s the smaller efforts like building a ramp for someone whose mobility has changed, in other cases it’s just donating time. Stunning examples of generosity permeate the entire building industry like it's part of the plaid fabric builders tend to wear.
On top of long hours and often challenging working conditions, builders find time to volunteer, fundraise, and participate in whatever charitable project comes their way. Don’t forget most builders still work 50-60 hour weeks to support themselves, so giving an extra minute of their time means a lot. Some could argue that the building community collectively donates more time and expertise than any other. Indeed, outside of the medical profession, it’s rare that so many examples of good-hearted giving can be so easily assembled. And this article barely scratches the surface - we could have listed another ten pages of examples easily.
In the process of creating the world around us, builders don’t have it easy, but they still find time to give back. This post is dedicated to the builders who care about their communities; the builders who get up at 4 am for work and then show up at the end of the day for someone who needs them; for those who work weekends to donate their expertise; for the builders who care everywhere. This Valentines Day we’re recognizing and celebrating the builders out there with the biggest hearts. Share the love!
All screenshots by the author. Taken February 2020.
Image 1: Screenshot from Canadian Home Builders Association
Image 2: Screenshot from Canadian Home Builders Association
Image 3: Screenshot from Consigli
Image 4: Screenshot of Shawmut participation in Canstruction competition and of “left-shark” performing with Katy Perry at the 2016 Superbowl.
Image 5: Screenshot of portable medical clinics from BUILD.
Image 6: Screenshot of Red Seal Homes 2Aves Development