Building Hope Newsletter, December 2022

Executive Director & CEO Corner

This past year brought HomeAid National Capital Region amazing opportunities to grow and give back to those in need in our area. 

In the first quarter of 2022, our Board of Directors gathered to provide input and direction during a Practical Vision Workshop, where we created our Strategic Plan for the next three years. During those early planning sessions, we decided to rebrand, leading us to expand our territory, create a new website and redesign our newsletter. 

In the second quarter, we completed two projects one at House of Mercy, a nonprofit providing food and clothing in Manassas, VA and another project in Arlington at PathForward, where we renovated a basement at a garden-style apartment building where housing is provided to those facing significant barriers to housing. We were also honored to accept the Alexandria Commission on Aging Award for our work on St. Martins Senior Center in Alexandria, hosted a Care Day with the NVBIA Future Leaders, received the HBAV Housing Excellence Award, and collected 148,813 diapers and wipes during our spring Builders for Babies Diaper Drive.

And we didn’t slow down in the third quarter. We completed two more projects in Winchester, VA. CCAP, where we installed custom shelving in the clothing closet, which provided better access for people to shop, and a special playground installation at Kids Club of Northern Shenandoah Valley, which serves 90 kids a day at their after-school program. We also hosted a builder recruitment event at the Washington Nationals game introducing new builders to our mission. 

As we wrap up the final quarter of the year, where we hosted our largest fundraiser, “Bet on HomeAid” raising $380,000 for our programs and initiatives, I’m reflecting on how much we have accomplished thanks to our remarkable supporters. We worked with seven different Builder Captains and 50 Trade Partners who completed projects with a retail value of $372,903, saving our nonprofit partners 96% in construction costs. We renovated 16,001 square feet of space and helped thousands of people across the region.   

Looking forward, the New Year is shaping up to be one of our most impressive yet, with one of the biggest pipelines of pending projects in our history. Together, we’re investing in people and buildings, and I’ve never felt so energized about the impact our mission can make on the communities we call home.  

With gratitude,

In the Neighborhood

Annual Gala Raises $380,000

HomeAid National Capital Region’s “Bet on HomeAid” Gala & Auction welcomed 300 supporters to Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, where they together raised more than $380,000 to support HomeAid’s mission of helping people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness build new lives through construction, community engagement, and education. In addition to the funds received through sponsorships, ticket sales, and the silent and live auctions, $56,000 was raised during the Paddle Challenge, with a $10,000 match donation coming from Jonathan and Lauren Kinard.

We also announced and honored three recipients for our prestigious Presidents’ Circle Awards. The 2022 Awards, sponsored by Steve and Margie Alloy, recognized the following people and organizations for their work in advancing HomeAid’s mission:

Presidents’ Award: Jason R. McDonough

The HomeAid National Capital Region Presidents’ Awards recognizes those in our community who have gone the extra mile to further HomeAid’s mission of building new lives for those experiencing homelessness. Jason joined the HomeAid Board of Directors in 2014 and has been a stable source of support ever since. In 2019, he served as our Board president and has chaired the Governance Committee for the last two years. He also serves on the Golf Tournament and Builders & Friends BBQ Committees, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for our mission. Most recently, he led the charge in helping to organize and facilitate our strategic plan, which ultimately led to expanding our service area and changing our name to HomeAid National Capital Region. 

Jason R. McDonough

Trade Partner of the Year Award: VCI Group

HomeAid’s Trade Partners are those in the building industry who play meaningful roles in HomeAid’s construction projects by donating materials, time, labor, and expertise. For the last 12 years, VCI has been instrumental in both renovation and new-build projects, donating more than $55,000 of in-kind services to nearly a dozen HomeAid projects, including a domestic violence shelter owned by Bethany House. Most recently, VCI – in partnership with Stanley Martin Homes – built a playhouse for an after-school program in Winchester as a part of our Project Playhouse program.  

Kristyn Burr and Sammie Valasquez

Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award: PathForward

PathForward transforms lives by delivering housing solutions and pathways to stability, and, in 2022, HomeAid, Toll Brothers, Van Metre Homes, and 22 trade partners saved this Arlington nonprofit almost $160,000 in construction costs as we renovated a garden-style apartment building for chronically homeless individuals with significant needs and barriers to housing. In addition to remediating structural issues and managing a long permitting process, our team built out the basement, where residents can now gather and socialize, do their laundry, and even work with an on-site life skills coach. In addition to the award, PathForward received a $1,000 donation and enjoyed a Gala table for 10, sponsored by M&T Bank.

PathForward Board Chair, Tim Denning

PulteGroup served as the presenting sponsor of the Gala & Auction, with nearly 50 additional event sponsors joining in. Thank you to all for making this year’s event the enormous success that it was!

Missed this year’s event? Be sure to check out the hundreds of professional photos taken this year!

In Your Community

Making Food Rescue a Reality

HomeAid National Capital Region, Builder Captain Miller & Smith, and 14 Trade Partners will soon begin renovating a 5,000-square-foot office as part of a large warehouse build-out project for Cornerstones. The office and warehouse will address food insecurity and reduce food waste by establishing a Food Rescue and Empowerment Enterprise (FREE) from Hunger Center, offering centralized storage for food partners to source, rescue, and distribute diverse and healthy food options for area homeless shelters in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

With the rise of food insecurity affecting many families and sectors of our community, access to local pantry programs that can distribute fresh vegetables and meat, dairy, and pantry staples regularly is an essential lifeline. Unfortunately, the number-one need cited by pantries is the challenge of storage space. Most also lack cooling capabilities, forcing many pantries to turn down offers of salvaged food from local grocers, farmers, and restaurants.

In addition to providing a solution for storage and cooling capabilities, distributing fresh, frozen, and shelf foods to area homeless shelters and other residential/supportive housing programs will help reduce operational costs for shelters. This will enable them to redirect resources to address the root causes of homelessness – affordable housing options and access to other services – rather than spending it on food.

Making It Count

Last Chance to Donate to the Holiday Home Essentials

It’s the final month to donate to the HomeAid National Capital Region’s Holiday Home Essentials Drive – please take a moment today to shop our Amazon Wish List! All of the supplies listed – including kitchen items, blankets, bathroom accessories, towels, laundry baskets, and cleaning supplies – have been hand-selected by our nonprofit partners with clients’ real needs in mind. We’ll take care of assembling and delivering “Welcome Home” baskets – we just need you to help shop for these everyday essentials!

The Home Essentials Drive will run through the end of December and will have lasting benefits: Every item purchased means more funding that our partners can spend on programs and services rather than on supplies.

Support Spotlight

The Art of Storytelling

In the October issue of Building Hope, you met the man behind the redesign of our website; this month, meet Greg Nitsche, creative director at Lyons & Sucher, who spearheaded the redesign of our newsletter. Launched last month, we’re thrilled with the new look, finding it as easy on the eyes as it is easy to absorb all that we share in every issue. Greg is about to launch a new company with several colleagues, and as he’s dedicated his career to creative marketing for builders and developers, we’re certain this is one person you’ll want to know!

Alfredo Ramirez, Sara Buehl and Greg Nitsche

Q: How did you connect with HomeAid, and what led you to say, ‘Yes!’ to helping us with our newsletter?

A: We were introduced through one of our longtime clients, Miller & Smith. Doug Smith has, of course, been involved with HomeAid since its beginning, and they became one of Lyons & Sucher’s clients 17 years ago. When I was working on a project for Miller & Smith, I spoke with Kristyn Burr, HomeAid National Capital Region’s CEO and executive director, and learned all about HomeAid and its mission. I ended up helping them do a video shoot at the Builders & Friends BBQ, which led to this project – redesigning their eBlasts and newsletter in concert with their rebranding.

Q: What did you most want to achieve with the new template?

A: Our art director, Alfredo Ramirez, is great at distilling and organizing information for maximum clarity and impact. We wanted to take the new brand and apply it to a template that would pique curiosity with smaller bits of information and get people invested enough to jump over to the website for the full story. It’s challenging to attract people’s attention, and our company has been focused on branding and storytelling since its inception. We wanted to help HomeAid show its personality and make connections through words and visuals. With the email template, our goal was to make the information easily digestible. We kept the look clean and used type, color, and graphics to help organize and distinguish the different sections. We also designed it so that it would be easy for HomeAid’s team to update themselves.

Q: What do you love about your career?

A: I’ve loved coming up with ideas and seeing them come to life since I was a little kid. When I learned there is a career called advertising – where you could make a living by brainstorming and collaborating with other writers, designers, photographers, and filmmakers — I knew I’d found my path. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years and still genuinely get a kick out of it. I’ve been with Lyons & Sucher for 22 years, and Founders Jane Lyons and Mark Sucher have been great mentors. My connection to Lyons & Sucher runs deep, which is why I appreciate Jane and Mark’s support in what we’re doing next: Along with longtime co-workers and fellow creatives Sara Buehl and Alfredo, we’re launching a new design and marketing firm called Wordmark Creative. We’ll continue in real estate marketing, working with our builder and developer clients of the past 20+ years, as well as new partners, and putting our own mark on our work. We launch on January 1.


Thank You
Thank you to Transurban, for a $3,000 award as part of the Express Lanes Community Grant Program. This grant will help sustain our operations, including the successful completion of Loisann’s Hope House in Fredericksburg.

ARPA Benefits HomeAid
We are pleased to report that out of 200+ applicants, HomeAid National Capital Region was awarded $25,000 by Fairfax County as part of its 2022 ARPA Nonprofit Sustainability Grants Program. The funding will be directed toward post-pandemic employee recruitment and retention and technology upgrades in order to enhance the delivery of our services and programs throughout the County, as well as create better efficiencies via more transportable laptops and iPads.

Winter Holiday Schedule
The HomeAid National Capital Region office will be closed from Friday, December 23, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023, so that we can enjoy some downtime with our families over the holidays. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Upcoming Events

March 2, 2023 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
TopGolf Loudoun 20356 Commonwealth Center Sr. Ashburn, VA

Upcoming Partner Events

NVBIA Women in the Building Industry
* Benefiting HomeAid
Friday, December 9, 2022 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reston Craft House 1888 Explorer St. Reston, VA