Executive Director’s Corner
Completing a project gives all of us at HomeAid such an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that together, we have immeasurably helped those who need it most. At the ribbon cutting for the Community Lodgings project last week, a huge number of our partners turned out to celebrate the completion of seven apartments for at-risk populations and community meeting space for mentoring and life skills programming, and it felt great to thank them for their incredible contributions. But what resonated the most, I think, was our recognition of what these homes will really mean to the seven families who will be living there. The pure sense of relief these moms must feel, knowing they’re moving into fully stocked homes … meaning they won’t have to worry about furnishing them. And the impact it will all have on 14 kids who probably aren’t accustomed to having anything new. It’s these moments when our hard work comes full circle, as we see first-hand what it means to change so many lives for the better. Best of all, we’re not finished for the year: We have several other projects in process, and we just received long-awaited permits to continue the renovation of a home in Fairfax County for Final Salute, which will provide housing for up to 10 residents – all female veterans and their children. These projects, valued at nearly $1.4 million, will provide sanctuary and life-changing programs to our youngest citizens and give their parents a safe and stable place to rebuild their futures. It’s an incredible feeling, and I’m so grateful to our countless partners for working so hard with us to help make others’ dreams come true.
“Tomorrow is Today!”
Are You Registered for HomeAid’s Gala & Auction?
|November 4, 2017 • 6:30 p.m. • Lansdowne Resort & Spa • Leesburg, VA
It’s our Sweet 16, and trust us when we say you’re going to want to celebrate with us at our 16th Annual Gala & Auction! There’s a lot of “new and improved” at this year’s futuristic-themed “Tomorrow is Today” event, and we know it will make our biggest fundraiser of the year feel different from the moment you arrive:
We’ll also celebrate three Presidents’ Circle award winners, enjoy a three-course dinner, and salute the future of HomeAid with our annual paddle challenge, which last year raised $120,000 for HomeAid.
This year’s dress code will be futuristic formal. We look forward to seeing you there!
|Whether you’re hoping to score a pair of Washington Capitals tickets or want to take a trip of a lifetime, our silent and live auction has you covered!
Here’s a sampling of just a few of our 2017 auction items:
Our procurement team is still collecting donations and are in particular need of restaurant, technology, and unique experiences and getaways. Contact Jenn Keesling to coordinate your donation.
|HomeAid, Four Builder Captains, 35 Trade Partners Complete Major Renovation for Community Lodgings
|Seven low-income families now have newly upgraded and fully-furnished homes in the City of Alexandria, following the completion of renovations to a Community Lodgings multi-unit supportive housing property led by HomeAid Northern Virginia and a consortium of four builder captains—Brookfield Residential, Evergreene Homes, M/I Homes, and Richmond American Homes. Representative from all organizations gathered on a beautiful fall day in September to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the completed project and help welcome some of the seven families—14 of whom are children—who will be living there.
The nearly $900,000 project—HomeAid’s largest for 2017—involved upgrading the property’s six existing affordable housing, as well as adding a seventh two-bedroom unit. The lower level now also features a family learning center, a kitchen area for residents, and a new meeting space that will be open to the community for mentoring and programming.
“The impact this renovation has on our families is incredible,” said Lynn Thomas, executive director of Community Lodgings. “I grew up in affordable housing in southeast DC, and I know how important it is for a low-income family to live in a nice, safe house. We are all so grateful to HomeAid Northern Virginia, the builders, and the many other supporters who made this happen.”
The project required a great deal of prep work, and architectural firm Rust Orling was brought in to submit architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings for Community Lodgings, with the goal of bringing the circa 1940s apartment building up to today’s building standards, as well as designing an additional two-bedroom unit; new covered front entrance; and HVAC, bathroom and kitchen upgrades to their children’s learning center.
“Architecture is a powerful tool and much needed in improving vital areas in Alexandria City,” said Lisa Lettieri, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Rust Orling Architecture. “We feel it’s important to help create a home one can feel good about on their way to bettering themselves and their futures, which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. We were proud to be part of the team that helped make this happen for Community Lodgings and for the residents who will now live there.”
For Cris Maina, director of construction for Brookfield Residential, the project was his first with HomeAid, although Brookfield has led many projects as a Builder Captain. “This was really a new experience for me, as we’re of course more accustomed to working on new builds rather than on renovations. But everyone really stepped up, and having Greg Poulson from Madison Homes work as the general manager for the project was an integral part of our success. This was a huge, high-profile project, and we wouldn’t have been able to take it on by ourselves at this point … so having this consortium of builders was a creative solution to getting the job done. I enjoyed this experience tremendously.”
Rob Cappellini, founder and CEO of The Evergreene Companies, agreed that Greg Poulson did an amazing job leading the project and coordinating the countless details from start to finish. “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a great cause and very proud of the teamwork that made it all possible. Within our own company, Tim Brown and Corey Smith really enjoyed working with the group to achieve the goals that were set. The leadership team and the trade partners really came together to make this project a success, and they should all be very proud of the work done to support the Home/Aid and Community Lodgings mission. Many thanks to a great team.”
|Thank you, Brookfield Residential, Evergreene Homes, M/I Homes, Richmond American Homes, and the following partners for dedicating your time, skills, and resources to the seven families who can now call their apartments at Community Lodgings “home!”|
A&M Drywall Construction
Mid Atlantic Contracting
Mid South Building Supply
Potomac Concrete Proper Tree Care, LLC
Rust Orling Architecture
TAC Ceramic Tile
TNT Services Group
Tysons Service Corporation
Virginia Cleaning and Punchout Inc.Furnishings provided by
Staged InteriorMajor Contributors
City of Alexandria
Virginia Housing Development Authority
Tysons Service Corporation
Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament Raises $70,000+
|A sold-out field of 144 golfers turned out on a gorgeous fall day to raise more than $70,000 for HomeAid, network with colleagues, and enjoy friendly competition on the links at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va.
Thank you to our supporters and sponsors for making this year’s golf tournament possible! Special thanks to John Darvish, John Buhl, Brian Davidson and Jason McDonough for being the inspiration behind the event and for all of your work in steering this year’s tournament with our HomeAid team and tireless volunteers.
HomeAid Partner Staged Interior Furnishes Apartments for Community Lodging, Seven Families
|Over a warm weekend in September, moving trucks and a team of volunteers converged on an apartment building owned by Community Lodgings, where HomeAid and a consortium of four Builder Captains had just completed a nearly $900,000 renovation project. The weekend team was led by Young and Trish Kim, founders and owners of Staged Interior—a professional home staging company—and they were there to furnish and accessorize all seven apartments—for free.
It’s the second time Staged Interior has donated and installed interior furnishings for a project; last year, they fully outfitted a 5,000 square foot home built by HomeAid and partners on the campus of Youth For Tomorrow. But this time, they needed seven of everything, and they were on a deadline to get it all done before the ribbon-cutting the following week.
“Community Lodgings was a hugely successful result of collaboration between Builder Captains and trade partners,” said Young, “and we dedicated that same level of collaboration and coordination to put the finishing touches on all seven units, with the talent of all of our team members. We had to be extremely organized, with most of the preparation done at our warehouse so that the day of execution would go as smoothly as possible. We faced some challenges—a blocked entrance door that meant bringing everything in a circuitous way—but we got it all done 3:00pm! On the day of dedication ceremony, it was awesome to hear the ‘oohs and ahhs’ from trade partners and HomeAid and Community Lodgings team members, and it gave us such a pure sense of appreciation when we met and saw the excitement of the residents who will be living in these units. We can’t wait for next year’s project!”
All photos ©2017, Staged Interior. All rights reserved. All photos by Susan Maunders Olson.
See more photos of these remarkable volunteers and this remarkable project!
Women in the Building Industry View Philanthropy as Foundation of Leadership
|Erin Thiebert, president of Women in the Building Industry (WBI), and a transactional attorney at Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley and Walsh, has been committed to HomeAid Northern Virginia since WBI’s founding three years ago. WBI, an outgrowth of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), has featured numerous events, roundtables, and other networking opportunities for women in the industry. The group just held its annual and popular winetasting event last month, which led to the donation of stockpiles of useful items for HomeAid’s shelter clients as they move into homes renovated or built by HomeAid and partners. WBI is devoted to philanthropy and continues to create opportunities for members who enjoy networking and learning while generously donating to those in need. Read more as Erin shares the history of WBI and what drives the organization’s commitment to HomeAid.
Q: Can you tell us about WBI and how this organization came about?
A: WBI is a subcommittee of NVBIA, and it was started in 2015 by three women who were in the industry, two of whom work with builders: Alicia Skoug with Drees, Soledad Portilla with Stanley-Martin, and Heather Hanes-Long with RES. They saw a need for a group to help embolden women in the industry and support their rise to leadership positions. They reached out to me early on to see if this was something that I thought women would be interested in, and to get some feedback. The moment I heard about it, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I said, ‘Sign me up and tell me what I need to do.’
WBI held a few events in their first year, 2015, in an effort to get it off the ground. They had an introductory happy hour, which was very well attended—the attendees were just bubbling over about it. It served as a great foundation and has continued ever since. Our first full year of events was in 2016, which was very successful. We have tried to retain a similar style of events throughout each year, this being our third year.
One of the features of our popular winetasting event, which was just held in September, is a Welcome Home Basket Drive for HomeAid. That was something that was started in 2015 and something we will continue. Those attending the event enjoy bringing something brand new to outfit a home—laundry baskets, skillets, measuring cups, small appliances, towels, coat hangers—things that you wouldn’t think of that every home needs and people may not think of when you’re transitioning from a homeless situation into a home. We collected about seven big laundry baskets filled with home goods, and then HomeAid creates a basket for each room depending on what has been donated. They just used up last year’s supplies for the recently completed Cornerstones project; a mom of four kids who moved in had a fully stocked kitchen, plus sheets and towels and a bunch of other home goods to get her started. I am a huge supporter of HomeAid—it does good work for a cause that people may not think about enough. If we can supply the basics for somebody who is transitioning from homelessness, that leaves HomeAid with more resources elsewhere.
WBI has an executive committee for the first time this year, made up of four of us. We make a great team, and though I currently serve as president, the entire committee does so much work that I think I rely on them more than they rely on me. They’re wonderful, and include our events and education committee head and vice president, Lauren Duvall; public relations and communications head, Carmela Patrick, and Karen Garceau, who heads up community service.
Q: What other events does WBI sponsor?
A: I served on WBI’s events and education committee in 2016; on that committee, we would discuss the events we wanted to have, and talk about what aspects of the industry could use our organization’s assistance.
One of the big events that we have continued since our first year is a women’s leadership roundtable event. The first roundtable we hosted featured a panel of women leaders from local homebuilders and an engineering company: Diane Cox-Basheer, Deborah Rosenstein, and Susan Wolford. They shared their history of rising to their positions of leadership in the industry and the types of challenges they encountered along the way. Some of them started in the industry years ago, at a time when it was very challenging for women. The panel was open for questions, and it was just a very informative and popular program.
We tried to keep that momentum going—sharing experiences, learning from one another, and just bouncing ideas off of each other. We did that in 2016 as well, but then we added breakout panels, including, for example, work-life balance and how to ask hard questions at work, such as asking for a raise. This year, we’re already preparing for our next roundtable in November; much of the focus will be on creating a leadership program within your company.
Q: Who is eligible to join WBI?
A: It is open to anyone who is member of NVBIA, including men. We try to keep the events neutral—they are not just for women. We love for men to attend our events, especially the events that include women sharing their experiences, as well as the issues and decisions we face. There is often a difference in how women make decisions versus how men make decisions in this industry. We welcome men at our events so they can see what drives us.
Q: How did you become involved in the building industry?
A: I come from a long history of builders and developers. My family started a road construction company in Texas in the 1800s. They built roads with mule trains across Texas. My grandfather, all of my cousins and uncles, and my father grew up working for the construction company, and my father and brothers eventually spun off a general contracting firm that constructs buildings rather than roads in 2007. General contracting and development is what I was raised on and what I know, so it was sort of natural that I would get into that line of work as an attorney. I help homebuilders and commercial developers by providing legal expertise and assisting with due diligence and other aspects of real estate transactions.
Q: Why is it important to your organization that you support HomeAid?
A: When WBI first got started, the women who started it wanted to ensure that we were pushing forward with an agenda of promoting women into leadership positions within the industry. In my view, it is naturally inherent to any leader that they recognize philanthropy as a foundation of becoming a leader; good leaders are also good philanthropists. I don’t think you can be an effective leader without also being altruistic. It was natural to go with HomeAid since it was already part of NVBIA. Many of the supporters of HomeAid are members of NVBIA, so it was a natural fit, and we know they do good work.
There are so many worthy charities, but I have been very protective as president to ensure that the two charities that we support (HomeAid and Women Giving Back) get our full attention. I know how easy it is to spread yourself too thin, and then you don’t accomplish anything. The winetasting event we just had has always been geared toward collecting home essentials for HomeAid. You have to build that strength up gradually, and I think repetition is the best way to do that. And if we can keep HomeAid stocked up on those baskets that they need through the year, that’s our goal.
Also, when I first joined Walsh Colucci, I was put in charge of HomeAid’s backpack drive, to collect backpacks for kids going back to school in the fall. I headed that up at the office for the last three years, and the firm has continued to donate new backpacks to HomeAid for the drive. We get a lot of participation from everyone at the firm.
Q: What would you say about HomeAid and how important it is to the community?
A: It’s exceptionally valuable because it is able to reach out to an aspect of the construction industry that maybe wouldn’t normally be tapped. The founders of HomeAid obviously figured out early on that there are people willing to help their cause in the construction industry. And, there is need for construction expertise in renovating and building housing for those in need here in Northern Virginia. The two go hand-in-hand, and they’re not just building shelters; they’re building homes in order to help move people from homelessness into a home. They saw a resource they can depend on in the homebuilding industry, and they rely on that. It’s great because the members of NVBIA aren’t just builders—they’re also engineers and law firms and banks. There is a wealth of experience and resources within the membership of NVBIA and if everybody just gives a little bit, it’s amazing what comes of that.
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