Building Hope Newsletter, April

Executive Director & CEO Corner

In the “Making it Count” section of this newsletter, you’ll read a little bit about the history of HomeAid America, the national organization of which we are a part. There’s so much more to the HomeAid model than the structure and overall project successes though, and like so much of what we do locally, it comes down to the people and the unique communities in which we all live and work. I’ve had the joy of meeting and working with the executive directors of many of the other 19 affiliates within the HomeAid network, sharing information, ideas, and resources. We’ve become friends and partners in the best possible way, and while all of our local markets vary greatly in terms of partners, local nonprofits, and needs, we all have the same goal: rebuilding lives. For HomeAid Austin in Texas, that has meant a Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community of tiny houses that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. HomeAid Hawaii has a similar model that leans more on shared communal living since the year-round climate is better suited for it, while HomeAid Portland has resourced pods as a way of providing safe shelter for their populations in need. The HomeAid model also means that 100% of the funds raised locally stay local. That gives each affiliate the opportunity to focus its resources on what works best in their territories, because what works in Hawaii or California may not, for example, work here. HomeAid represents the essence of a win-win: We find professional support and friendships across the nation through our common goal, but we all have the freedom to find boots-on-the-ground solutions that work for our communities, using locally sourced funding and partnerships. Thank you for being part of our local solution.

With gratitude,

In the Spotlight

Join Us at Builders and Friends BBQ

We will host our Builders and Friends BBQ on Thursday, June 15 from 4-7 pm, where we celebrate our mission of rebuilding lives through construction, community engagement, and education. We’ll offer all-you-can-eat BBQ, a craft beer open bar, seasonal cocktails, live music, cornhole games, and awesome raffle prizes (including our famous wheelbarrow of beer!) – all at the beautiful and spacious National Botanic Garden overlooking the water.

We will also announce our Trade Partner of the Year, which is presented to a company who has gone above and beyond to provide an invaluable service to HomeAid and our projects.

If you participated in a HomeAid project between July 2022 and now, you get two free tickets to the BBQ! Contact Julianna Blaylock at by June 9th to reserve your tickets.

Registration and sponsorship opportunities are open, and we look forward to seeing and celebrating with you in June.

In the Neighborhood

Builders for Babies Launching Next Month!

Spring has arrived, which means it’s time to launch Builders for Babies 2023! This important diaper and wipes drive will again run during the weeks between Mother’s Day (May 14) and Father’s Day (June 18). Since 2018, we’ve collected over 500,000 diapers and wipes for more than 30 local nonprofits, and we’ve set a goal of collecting 200,000 this year.

Here’s how you can get involved: 

Contributing items like diapers and wipes are vitally important anytime, but diapers and wipes cannot be purchased using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) funds. And at an annual cost of approximately $1,440 per baby, supporting this effort is a great way to help our communities’ littlest humans!

For more information on how to participate, please contact Julianna Blaylock at


In Your Community

New Online: HomeAid Projects in the Pipeline!

After expanding into new territories in the region and partnering with an increasing number of nonprofit partners and builders, our projects also continue to grow! To help keep supporters up-to-date about projects in the planning stages, those that have broken ground, and those that we’ve recently completed, we’ve developed a new “Projects” page on our website.

For projects in development, you’ll find descriptions of the scope of work; information about the nonprofit partner, the population we’ll serve, the project location; and photographs. If a project already has a Builder Captain, you’ll see the company listed; if we’re still in need of a Builder Captain, you’ll see that too!

For our completed projects, you’ll see much of the same information but with even more photos detailing the project start to finish and a listing of all the trade partners who made our work possible. A real-time dashboard also highlights how much we’ve together invested in our region, the total dollar value donated, and the number of lives impacted by our work.

It’s one thing to say we have 10 projects in the pipeline; it’s another thing to see them detailed in full color! Check out our Projects page, and keep coming back … we update it frequently!

Making It Count

Together, We Build

In 1989, a small but passionate grassroots group of individuals in the building industry set out on a journey to tackle one of our nation’s biggest problems: homelessness. Over the next 30 years HomeAid America has worked to established itself as a leading nonprofit of building housing and programmatic facilities for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Today, HomeAid operates through a network of 19 Affiliates in 13 states, collaborating with local and national builders, trades, suppliers, financial institutions, and community partners to take on every imaginable project and provide support that helps people build new lives. As an Affiliate – and the only one in the Mid-Atlantic region – HomeAid National Capital Region is part of an incredible network that has collectively completed more than 1,000 projects valued at $250 million+ and effectively rebuilding the lives of over 500,000 people.

Curious to learn more about this national organization? Check out HomeAid’s Affiliates page, where you’ll find an informative map showing the location of every Affiliate, along with direct links to each of the Affiliate’s websites. While the size, scope, and history of every Affiliate varies, it’s no secret that there’s power in numbers, and we’re proud to be part of this team!

Support Spotlight

Finding Purpose through Volunteerism

Jana Gilbert, director of operations for The Engineering Groupe, Inc., serves on the Board of Directors at NVBIA and regularly volunteers at HomeAid’s BBQ, GolfAid, and Gala. In between, she coordinates diaper and home essentials drives to support our nonprofit partners. She is, in short, an always-helpful supporter who never fails to show up. We’re so grateful for volunteers like Jana, because for an organization that tackles projects ranging from building and renovating to throwing fundraiser events to launching collection drives, we need an equally deep bench of volunteers. Find out more about the why behind Jana’s commitment to volunteering!

Jana Gilbert

Q: What inspired you to get more deeply invested in helping advance HomeAid’s mission?

A: My life experiences have made me keenly aware that every day is a gift, and a chance to make a difference for others is something that I must not neglect. I met Kristyn Burr and the staff of HomeAid through The Engineering Groupe’s involvement with NVBIA, when we started bringing diapers and essential household goods to NVBIA events for HomeAid drives. As time went on, I learned more about HomeAid’s mission of creating safe and dignified housing for those experiencing and at risk of experiencing homelessness, and I wanted to be a part of their work. Their use of the word ‘dignified’ touched my heartstrings.   

Q: Similarly, what inspired you to serve on so many of NVBIA’s committees and councils?

A: Serving on NVBIA’s committees can be inspiring because it provides opportunities to make a positive impact, connect with like-minded individuals, develop new skills, and advocate for important issues. It offers a supportive network, which can lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations, as well as provide a sense of community and camaraderie with others who share interests and goals.

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A: The firsthand opportunity to make a tangible difference and positive impact on others’ lives. I feel such a sense of community and connection with others who share my passion, and you can form close bonds with other volunteers and staff, creating a supportive network. It is deeply fulfilling on a personal level, as we give back and help those less fortunate. Many volunteers report feeling a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives as a result of their work: “If we care for others and their welfare, our heart will be full, and we’ll be truly happy.”

Q: Tell us about your career with The Engineering Groupe.

A: I am approaching my 20th anniversary at The Engineering Groupe, Inc. this June and it has been a pleasure working for Skip and Johnny Groupe for nearly two decades. My current role consists of marketing/public relations, event planning, community outreach/philanthropy, property management, and special projects. I love the diversity of my role, am inspired by my colleagues, and love the culture of positivity. 


Cleanup at Cornerstones
Please join up with NVBIA Future Leaders on May 4, 2023, to help make outdoor spaces at Cornerstones’ affordable housing units a beautiful place to call home! We’ll be weeding, trimming, planting flowers, and mulching – volunteers are welcome! Contact Julianna Blaylock at for more information and to sign up.

Plan with Purpose
Third-party events come in a variety of shapes and sizing, including golf tournaments, cornhole tournaments, bake sales, and concerts. But no matter the size or occasion, they all help spread awareness and raise funds that go directly towards our mission of rebuilding lives. If your organization is looking for a unique way to help support HomeAid, please reach out! Third-party events make a huge difference for HomeAid and give our hosts a way to add purpose to every event; in 2022,  individuals and companies hosting events raised almost $250,000 for HomeAid!

Upcoming Events

Builders for Babies Diaper Drive
May 14 to June 18, 2023

Builders and Friends BBQ
June 15, 2023 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
North Lake Pavilion National Botanic Garden
26320 Ticonderoga Road South Riding, VA 20152