Building Hope Newsletter, November 2019

Kristyn Burr finding balance on her recent trip to Morocco.

It seems that no matter where I am lately – out to dinner, at a work function, with my daughter at school – I keep noticing the same thing: The response to the question “How are you?” is always the same. “Busy.” According to Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist and author, our two main metrics for success are money and power, and they drive us to work longer hours, sleep with our phones and tablets, and miss important moments with our families. It all impacts our health. We wear busy like it’s a badge of honor. We glorify it. Somehow success is defined by how jam-packed our days are and that not having an open slot in the calendar until three weeks from now seems like a rite of passage toward “success.” People ask what I do, and while I’d really like to say I’m raising an amazing daughter, practice yoga, and have traveled the world, I realize the expected answer is a description of what I do in my work life. Though my passion for what I do at work runs deep, why is this? Why do so many of us define our lives by how crazy our days are, or proudly admit that “spare time” and “self-care” are nonexistent? Why don’t we celebrate balance instead? Why don’t we allow ourselves the luxury of some downtime – and feel free to brag about it?

I’m thinking about all this during, yes, a particularly productive time at work. Our 18th Gala & Auction is just around the corner, and the holidays will follow shortly afterward. But instead of looking at the coming season with anxiety, I am challenging myself this year to look at it for what it should be: The Gala is really about raising critical funds for a strong mission of serving others, while reconnecting with colleagues and friends and celebrating the impact we are making across our community. For the holidays, I’m traveling, first to see family and friends with my tiny human and then out of the country on another adventure. I don’t want to miss out on my daughter’s life, but I also don’t want to miss out on my life. I don’t want success to be defined by my calendar; instead, I want it to be defined by my relationships and my experiences. The mark we ultimately leave in this world is not how many hours we spent at the office but how well we loved and the difference we made in the lives of others. I hope you’ll join me this season, and challenge yourself to redefine what “busy” really means and, in the process, redefine what success looks like.

With Gratitude,

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Saturday, November 9, 2019
6:30 p.m.
Lansdowne Resort & Spa, Leesburg, Va.

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 18th Annual Winter Nights Gala & Auction is just two days away, on November 9 at Lansdowne Resort & Spa, but you don’t need to wait to get in on the action – our online silent auction is now open! Whether you’ve already registered to attend or can’t make it this year, be sure to check out the 60+ great auction items available via our online bidding site. You don’t need to be present to win, so if you are the top bidder for your items of choice but cannot attend the Gala, we’ll make sure your item gets to you!

The auctions are an enormous fundraiser for HomeAid, and we hope you’ll support our mission and enjoy bidding on some special items and memory-making experiences through the silent auction – check it out today! Here’s how:
  • The auction is hosted by GiveSmart and you can view it online now!
  • Register yourself on the auction website so that we can keep you up to date on your bidding status, and so that you can view the items and begin BIDDING!

You can bid from anywhere, anytime before the close of the auction, from your own device! (Yes – even if you can’t join us at the Gala!) You will even get updates if you are outbid!

Of course, we hope to see you at the Gala, where hundreds of supporters show their love for our work and our community. Registration will close at 4 p.m. today. We are encouraging all of our guests to bring baby wipes and diapers in support of our Builders for Babies Drive – particularly in large and Pull-Up sizes (look for the donation sled near registration/coat check). The diapers and wipes will be distributed to our non-profit partners in December.

No matter how you are able to support the HomeAid Gala this year – in person or online – we thank you for helping us raise critical funds to continue of mission of rebuilding lives for those experiencing homelessness in Northern Virginia. Together, we are making a difference!

[image_with_animation image_url=”20055″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=””%5D%5Bdivider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]November is Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month, with the goal to draw attention to the Americans who are forced to choose between basic necessities like purchasing food, paying rent, or going to the doctor. Did you know that 43.1 million Americans live below the poverty level; 549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night; 42 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger; and 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in poverty?
Source: National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. November is Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. It’s appropriate that one follows the other, because domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness among women and children, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless and others.

A domestic violence experience is oftentimes the immediate cause of homelessness, the National Alliance to End Homelessness states, because many survivors – particularly those without a local support system – turn to homeless service programs for a safe, secure place to stay after fleeing an abusive relationship. On a single night in 2017, in fact, homeless service providers set aside more than 55,000 beds specifically for survivors of domestic violence. But because many survivors lack the economic resources to secure or maintain permanent housing after leaving an abusive relationship, and because of the lack of affordable housing and long waiting lists for assisted housing, many women and their children are quite literally forced to choose between abuse at home and life on the streets.

The facts are sobering, but HomeAid Northern Virginia and our partners continue to work on educating the community about the very real link between domestic violence and homelessness, and to work on providing safe, stable homes for women and children so that they can rebuild their lives and transition toward independence.

This month, HomeAid and longtime Builder Captains Toll Brothers and Van Metre Homes will begin a reconfiguration and renovation project at Bethany House, a Christian ministry that provides emergency shelter and support services to women and children escaping domestic violence. The project, which will require navigating a host of code and engineering issues, will maximize space to serve more people – an important goal for providing more women safe, restorative space while giving them the support and resources they need to transition into independent lives free from abuse.

“According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, up to three million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the U.S., but so many go unreported that it’s been estimated that more than 10 million Americans experience domestic violence each year,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr. “Virginia is among the top 10 states with the highest rate of women murdered by men they knew. But for those who survive, escaping the violence can also mean almost certain homelessness. It’s an anguished, impossible choice that so many of the women our partners serve have to make every day; do they stay, risking their own lives and the lives of their children, or do they go, to an uncertain future without the promise of a roof over their heads? Thousands of brave women make that choice every year in our region, and it’s for them that these Awareness Months are so important. These are real people, facing real crises, right in our backyards. I urge all of our supporters to commit to doing something this month to help; donate, volunteer, learn more. Women and children in our community are depending on it!”

Want to help? Donate today, and help support HomeAid’s mission of building new lives for Northern Virginia’s homeless![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]In the most recent “Hunger in America 2014” study by Feeding America, Virginia’s food banks served: 30% children, 15% seniors 60 years old and older; and 56% households with at least one adult employed in the last 12 months. An estimated 21% of households across the Commonwealth report that someone in their household has served or is currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or as a member of the military Reserve or National Guard.
Source: Virginia Food Banks[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]On October 30, NVBIA’s Future Leaders of the Building Industry gathered for an Oktoberfest-themed evening of networking and connecting at Mustang Sally Brewing Company, collecting $700 worth of grocery cards in recognition of Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. The cards were donated to HomeAid Northern Virginia, to be distributed to the clients of local partners serving the homeless and at-risk populations, 29 percent of whom are children.

“Combined with last year’s collection, the Oktoberfest events have brought in more than $1,700 worth of grocery cards, helping put a big dent in hunger in Northern Virginia and allowing families to make choices and to purchase perishable items such as milk and eggs,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr. “The night was a celebration of the strong relationship between our two organizations, and it gave everyone the opportunity to make new contacts with business associates, work on growing their business, and catch up with fellow members and colleagues. But it also gave all of us the chance to stop for a moment and realize that events like these aren’t possible for so many; that for some, doing something as simple as going shopping at a grocery store is out of reach. The outpouring of support and gift cards is so critically important, and we’re grateful to all who remember that hunger doesn’t just happen at the holidays. Thank you, Future Leaders and NVBIA!”

Are you interested in helping fill the ‘fridge’? Donations of any size are welcome year-round – purchase a card next time you’re at the grocery store, or set up a gift card drive at your office, through your church, with friends and colleagues, or through school clubs, athletic teams, or any other group!

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Although Northern Virginia is considered to be one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country, it still faces a poverty rate of 6.4%. This means, based on U.S. Census figures, that more than 75,000 people in Northern Virginia are living in poverty, and 30% are children.
Source: Food for Others[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”No Line”]

Faith Boruta, Van Metre Companies, and Kevin Rabil,Van Metre Homes, with the 2019 winning team, the JMU Dukes, Jake Ruppert and Ryan Carr. The JMU Dukes won in a 21 vs. 20 game against the Intercocktails, last year’s champs. Congrats!

On Saturday, October 5, the Van Metre Companies Foundation hosted the 8th Annual Van Metre Cornhole Challenge as part of the Brambleton Fall Festival, and 30 teams raised more than $110,000 that will be split evenly between three organizations – HomeAid Northern Virginia, The Children’s Science Center, and YMCA Loudoun County. Van Metre has been supporting HomeAid through this tournament for five years now, with the total donations nearing $300,000. This year, we’ll focus funds on one of our current renovation projects to help close the gap between funding, donations, and costs.

HomeAid Northern Virginia’s Cilda Pretorius and Kristyn Burr attended this year’s Van Metre Cornhole Challenge to help spread awareness about HomeAid’s mission and thank supporters!

Cornhole Challenge Founder Kevin Rabil started the tournament with the goal of making a big impact on smaller, local organizations that help people in the communities where employees work and play.

“Van Metre has a long-standing partnership with HomeAid – from our participation as Builder Captain on several HomeAid projects to Project Playhouse to special fundraisers – and we were happy to choose HomeAid as a beneficiary of The Cornhole Challenge again this year,” Rabil said. “It just makes sense for a builder to partner with an organization that’s providing newly renovated housing stock and program facilities for people without them, and we’re proud to continue to be a part of HomeAid’s efforts.”

Thank you, Van Metre Homes and the Van Metre Companies Foundation for your tireless support, and congratulations on another successful Cornhole Challenge!

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Steve Turner and his wife, Carol, celebrated family with a multi-generational trip to Disney World in October.

Atlas Plumbing has been a longtime supporter of HomeAid Northern Virginia, bringing countless hours of labor, expertise, and resources to building and renovation programs since 2009. They’ve also become an active sponsor, with CEO Stephen Turner most recently signing on as a Glacier-level sponsor of our Winter Nights-themed Annual Gala & Auction. It’s the kind of support that makes a real difference in changing lives for the less fortunate in Northern Virginia, and the company was this year named our 2019 Trade Partner of the Year out of appreciation for all that they’ve contributed to our community and to HomeAid. Find out how HomeAid first caught the eye of this family-run business and why Steve continues to be one of our biggest supporters.

Q: Atlas is a major supporter of HomeAid. How did you learn about HomeAid, and what has kept you invested?

A: We do a lot of work for many of the bigger builders who have worked as Builder Captains for HomeAid, and when you’re asked by a partner to do something, you do it. That’s how we got involved at first, but we really enjoyed the experience, and it felt so good to do this kind of work. It was a really happy thing, so we wanted to stay involved. In the wealthiest country in the world, it’s inconceivable to me that we have people who don’t have even their most basic needs met and cannot sustain themselves. This is happening in our own community, in one of the richest counties in the richest country … and we have people on street corners begging and living in the woods. It’s appalling. Life has been so good to me, and this industry has been so good to us. We’re extremely happy to be in this position to donate services, and I appreciate all the heavy lifting that our team does. I do the easy part of writing the checks to support their work. My wife, Carol, and I are happy to support HomeAid.

Q: What do you think is the most important takeaway of a completed HomeAid project?

A: Satisfaction. We’re a family business, founded in 1981. A lot of our employees have been with us for 25 and 30 years, and it feels good when a family is involved in charitable work and giving back to the community that has been so giving to us through its support of our livelihood. We certainly don’t do it for the accolades – I was shocked when we were named Trade Partner of the Year, and it’s a nice honor. But there are so many trades who do as much or more than we do, and the bottom line is that we accept HomeAid projects because it’s the right thing to do, and because there shouldn’t be anyone who doesn’t have a roof over their heads.

Q: What do you love most about your career?

A: It’s a labor of love. Carol and I started this business in the basement of our first townhome in 1981. We got married in our early 20s, in 1977, and so this business really was our family from the start. All these years later, I still enjoy coming to work, and I love that my son works here now too. It’s a great feeling, knowing that we can pass it on to the next generation. It’s afforded me a lot in life, and I’m grateful.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Thank You

Christine Richardson with NVAR, Brian Davidson with Van Metre Homes, Kristyn Burr with HomeAid, and Mary Ann Burstein of NVAR at the Party With a Purpose Event.

We had a blast at last night’s 2nd Annual Party with a Purpose, hosted by NVAR Cares, a committee of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. The event, held at the Carlyle Club, raised money for HomeAid and four additional non-profits and gave us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and HomeAid to a whole new group of people committed to giving back to our community.

Big thanks to Walmart for a total of $7,500 received through grants from individual stores in our area, which will help fill the gap between donations and costs for renovating or build homeless shelters, housing facilities, and other non-profit spaces.

It’s tough to beat the feeling of a project well done, and we were pleased to personally thank and recognize Builder Captain Craftmark Homes and 30 trade partners for their work in transforming a circa 1811 building into transitional housing for 21 women for Friends of Guest House. We hosted the team at a thank you luncheon at J. Gilbert’s on October 24, recognizing their efforts and donations that resulted in 60 percent of the $460,000 value of the project.

HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr, second from left, accepts a $5,000 donation from NVBIA CEO Mark Ingrao, left, and HANV Board Chair Gary Chandler and Julie Dillon of Winchester Homes at the NVBIA Great American Living Awards (GALA) on October 10.

At NVBIA’s Great American Living Awards (GALA) on October 10, HomeAid again had the opportunity to meet hundreds of new prospective supporters and explain our mission and impact on the communities we serve. HomeAid Northern Virginia was first started by NVBIA members in 2001, and while we have grown and become an independent nonprofit over the years, we maintain our close ties to NVBIA and our network of builders. It was an honor to attend the GALA, catch up with so many of our partners, and accept with gratitude a $5,000 check to support our mission!

Congrats and Best Wishes!

All our best to Kathryn Kovacs, our communications director & program manager, and Thom Siegwarth, who happily tied the knot on Saturday, October 5! It was a beautiful fall day for a wedding, and we are so excited to welcome Thom to our extended HomeAid family.

Save the Date

HomeAid Northern Virginia 18th Annual Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:30 p.m., Lansdowne Resort and Spa, Leesburg, VA

NVBIA Custom Builders Council Holiday Mixer – Thursday, December 5, 2019, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. 13890 Lowe Street, Chantilly, VA 20151 (Collecting wipes for Builders for Babies initiative.)

NVBIA President’s Ball – Saturday, January 25, 2020, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, McLean, VA

GolfAid: A TopGolf Fundraiser for HomeAid Northern Virginia – Thursday, March 5, 2020, Top Golf Loudoun, VA

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
HomeAid’s Annual Gala & Auction is This Weekend – Online Auction Now Open!
The Link Between Domestic Violence and Homelessness
NVBIA’s Future Leaders Collects $700 in Grocery Cards
Van Metre Cornhole Challenge Raises $30,000+ for HomeAid
Atlas Plumbing & HomeAid: A Family Affair