Executive Director's Corner
There are so many ways that HomeAid fills me up, and last month really felt like an embarrassment of riches. The Gala is one of the most humbling and overwhelming events of the year, and it’s hard to put into words the feeling I had when I looked out from the podium and saw 450 supportive, encouraging faces, all focused on lifting up an organization and mission so dear to me. And as the night continued, and our funding grew before my very eyes, it was awe-inspiring to be reminded how deeply, passionately, and generously our supporters demonstrate their belief in us.
Then, just a few weeks later – as you’ll read about in Community – I was again at a podium on behalf of HomeAid, but this time to accept the 2018 Non-Profit Leader Organization Award at Leadership Fairfax’s Annual Awards Luncheon. The award is given to organizations that advance the cause and spirit of regional collaboration and partnership, going above and beyond to build connections across the community, and it was an enormous honor to see HomeAid recognized for its efforts by other entities in the community. It’s the second award we’ve received this year – in September, we were honored by the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance with their William L. Berry Inclusive Communities Award – and it feels incredibly meaningful to know that our work is being recognized not only by the people we directly serve, but by others who are working as hard as we are to make a difference.
Thank you for filling my cup, and happy, peaceful holidays to all.
In the Spotlight
Annual Gala & Auction Raises $400,000+ for HomeAid Northern Virginia
It was a glittering, festive, and full-of-surprises kind of night from the moment HomeAid Northern Virginia threw open the doors to its 17th Annual Gala & Auction on November 10 at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, and by night’s end, more than $400,000 had been raised to support HomeAid’s mission of renovating homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities. In addition to the funds received through sponsorships, ticket sales, and the silent and live auctions, $73,000 was raised during the always-popular Paddle Challenge, with a $50,000 match donation coming from Doug and Ann Smith.
With more than 450 people in attendance, HomeAid also announced and honored three recipients for its prestigious Presidents’ Circle Awards. The 2018 Awards recognized the following organizations and individuals for going the extra mile to further HomeAid’s mission of building new lives for the homeless:
- Staged Interior, Trade Partner of the Year Award
- Loudoun Hunger Relief, Nonprofit Service Provider Project of the Year Award
- John Buhl, Jr., of Buhl Electric Company, Presidents’ Award.
In presenting the Trade Partner of the Year Award to Staged Interior, HomeAid President Mike Sandkuhler said, “This family-run, Chantilly-based company, led by Young and Trish Kim, has enhanced HomeAid projects by providing furniture, accessories, and labor in order to transform our renovations and new-build projects into warm, welcoming, family-friendly homes. Staged Interior has donated more than $200,000 in new furniture and accessories to four HomeAid projects. The Staged Interior team exemplifies what it means to be dedicated, driven, and committed to helping others within our communities and always go way above and beyond what is expected.”
Loudoun Hunger Relief—the largest food pantry in Loudoun County, which last year provided 1.2 million pounds of food to more than 8,000 individuals—was remodeled by Builder Captain Knutson Companies and four trade partners. Sandkuhler noted that the building team “transformed a dreary and non-functional space into a cheerful, welcoming place with a private check-in desk and upgraded the food pick-up area into a more grocery store-like atmosphere. The remodel also added a room for shelving bakery goods and produce, allowing clients to select what they know their families will eat.”
Lastly, Sandkuhler invited Brian Davidson, group president of Van Metre Homes, HomeAid life director and last year’s recipient of the Presidents’ Award, to honor John Buhl Jr., president of Sterling-based Buhl Electric Company, Inc., his family-founded and family-run company that has been wiring new homes in Virginia for more than 50 years.
“Under John’s leadership,” Davidson remarked, “the company has supported us through donation and in-kind services and expertise to 15 different HomeAid projects, including Youth for Tomorrow, Shelter House, and ACTS’ Turning Points Domestic Violence Program. John has also generously supported HomeAid through sponsorship of numerous events, including the Gala, the annual Night at the Ballpark, and the Builder & Friends BBQ. He is regularly ‘first in line to help’ and provides meaningful assistance with HomeAid’s projects to serve our region’s communities.”
Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning served as the presenting sponsor of the event, with more than 40 additional event sponsors joining in. Thank you to all for making this year’s event the enormous success that it was!
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, HITT Construction Kick Off Aspire! Project
We believe in the “measure twice, cut once” proverb, so we’re also huge believers in prioritizing planning before we start any renovation project—and last week, we met with Builder Captain HITT Construction, key trade partners, and representatives from Aspire! Afterschool Learning in Arlington County to discuss the final details of our joint, 9,400-square-foot buildout of the third floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike. Aspire! will use the dedicated space for after-school academic and summer enrichment programs, along with community dance and movement classes, and will double or even triple the number of elementary-age students they can serve each day.
We anticipate starting the project by the end of the year, with completion during the first quarter of 2019. It is expected that the total project cost will near $1 million, with seed money for the project being contributed by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Philip Graham Fund, the HDR Foundation, and the Washington Forrest Foundation, in addition to pledges and gifts totaling about $450,000.
Did You Know?
In 2016, the average American spent $935.58 on holiday gifts, and according to a study performed by the National Retail Federation, Americans will be spending more money on gifts in 2018 than they did last year. For families struggling with basic living expenses, the holiday season can feel like a tipping point.
In Your Community
HomeAid Northern Virginia Named Non-Profit Leader of the Year by Leadership Fairfax
HomeAid Northern Virginia was on the receiving end of the awards podium yesterday, taking home honors as the 2018 Non-Profit Leader Organization at the 22nd Annual Northern Virginia Leadership Awards Luncheon, hosted by Leadership Fairfax. This premier event honors organizations and individuals who have shown leadership in the Northern Virginia community through their vision, innovation, courage, commitment, and inspiration.
HomeAid Northern Virginia was recognized in large part for its ability to bring together disparate groups – local homeless shelters and other non-profits with the local homebuilder business community – to build and renovate homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities. By convening diverse stakeholders – public, private, non-profit, homebuilders, construction subcontractors, and homeless shelters – HomeAid is able to implement collaborative partnerships and leverage diverse resources that together help rebuild lives for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. These collaborative, often cross-jurisdictional partnerships enable homebuilders to do what they do best (build!) and service providers to do what they do best (provide supportive programs and wrap-around services!).
Beyond construction and renovation, HomeAid Northern Virginia provides expertise in building codes, permitting, contracting, and more while connecting non-profit organizations with professional builders ready and able to tackle the project for free or at a significantly reduced cost.
Leadership Fairfax also noted HomeAid’s focus on developing avenues for more personal, inspirational connections to individuals and families in need—such as HomeAid’s efforts to collect grocery gift cards, home essentials, and diapers, as well as organize events such as movie nights and baseball games for families.
Thank you, Leadership Fairfax, for giving us this platform to help spread awareness throughout the community of our mission and purpose!
Making It Count
2018: A Year of Highlights
Where did the time go? If you’re like us, you’re wondering the same … it’s hard to believe another year has passed! During the constant swirl of project ground breakings and ribbon cuttings; planning and carrying out fundraising, educational and special events; treating kids to memory-making outings; coordinating collection drives; and always looking for the next way we can make a major impact in our communities, it’s sometimes easy to forget how far we’ve come. So, what exactly did we do this year? Check out some of our biggest highlights!
Did You Know?
The Falls Church Homeless Shelter has opened for the season and is able to house 12 individuals – 10 men and 2 women – with separate sleeping and shower facilities for men and women, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Volunteers provide hot meals and deliver them to the Shelter every evening, with most meals made and delivered by individual families.
Source: Falls Church Homeless Shelter
Join, Volunteer, Lead: Mike Sandkuhler's Recipe for Reward
Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre Homes, started out his industry volunteerism by leading the Prince William Chapter of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA), but that position very quickly morphed into a series of steps—HomeAid Builder Captain, NVBIA president, and HomeAid board member—that ultimately led him to serve as HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 2018 president. As the year draws to a close, learn more about what spurred Mike to take the leap into board leadership and what he’s enjoyed most about serving.
Q: What led you to take such an active role in NVBIA and HomeAid?
A: The start of my involvement was really the result of several things coinciding at the same time: I had recently become more active in the NVBIA and was asked to volunteer as the president of the Prince William Chapter. Around the same time, [Former HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director] Christy Eaton was traveling to meet with all of the NVBIA chapters, promoting HomeAid and helping educate and spread awareness within the homebuilding community about what the organization was all about. Christopher Companies, for whom I worked at the time, also stepped up as Builder Captain for a project with Pathway Homes, and taken together, it all made me really want to learn more and continue my involvement and interest. I joined the HomeAid board in 2016 and was happily shocked when my peers asked me to take on the role of president for 2018. I was and still am honored.
Q: What HomeAid project or effort has given you the most satisfaction this past year?
A: I’d have to say seeing the Final Salute project finally finish up was a huge milestone. It was a tough project with a lot of unexpected challenges, but we all kept our eyes focused on the goal and got it done together. It was really a great ‘win’ for everyone involved—for Final Salute, the veterans they serve, and HomeAid partners and supporters. For me personally, I’d say the most moving thing was having the opportunity to attend the HomeAid America National Conference. We toured a shelter that HomeAid Orange County built, and as I was walking through and seeing people’s belongings and personal photos and effects, it really struck me that this was a place where people slept and lived – it was their home – and it showed how badly these kinds of services are needed.
Q: What would you tell someone who was considering stepping up for a future term?
A: It’s not an easy role – it takes a lot of time and commitment – but it’s incredibly rewarding in a variety of ways: Professionally, it offers great exposure, while personally, you’ll see firsthand the impact of what we’re doing and how we’re changing lives. Seeing these projects through from start to finish, and meeting the people and service partners, is really eye-opening and fulfilling.
Q: What would you like to see HomeAid achieve going forward?
A: Over the course of the last several years, HomeAid has been very fortunate in fundraising, and while there is always more need, we’ve been able to kickstart some new initiatives that I would love to see continue. The turnover program, for example, which allows us to quickly refresh units that mostly just need paint and new flooring, is a clever way to quickly make units available while not having to lean so hard on our partners financially. A longshot dream would be to see us able to build a shelter like what I saw in Orange County. That would be an amazing feat and one that would further solidify our role in ending homelessness in Northern Virginia.
Q: What do you love most about your career in the homebuilding industry?
A: Every day, I learn something new. If you’re not, you’re not doing it right. There are always new challenges, and we always need to be creative and resourceful to figure out solutions to whatever the day brings, whether it’s bad weather or a holdup with local government permitting. I never know exactly what to expect when I wake up in the morning, and I like that.
Did You Know?
In Fairfax County, nearly 1,000 men and women are provided a safe, warm place to sleep during the winter season every year in the County’s three emergency shelters that all operate under a “no-turn-away” policy from December 1 to March 31, known as the Winter Seasonal program.
There was a lot to celebrate at our 17th Annual Gala and Auction, but one of our proudest moments came when Jas Boothe, president and founder of Final Salute, Inc., presented our very own John Monacci with the Hero Award, the organization’s highest honor. John served as president of HomeAid Northern Virginia when we first launched our effort to renovate Final Salute’s home in Fairfax County for women veterans and children who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness, and his passionate and tireless support of this project over the course of three years was a critical component of the project’s success. Congratulations, John!
Thank you, K. Hovnanian Homes, for stepping forward as Builder Captain for an upcoming project for Catholic Charities’ Christ House. We look forward to seeing this project through to fruition with you!
Thank you, Bank of America Foundation, for the generous $20,000 grant, which will go a long way in supporting our mission!
A round of applause for Lennar Homes, for collecting household essentials and assembling “welcome home” baskets for those moving in to our newly completed renovation projects—these baskets save both the residents and our non-profit partners important funding, while filling a very important need!
Lastly, three cheers for NVBIA’s Custom Builder’s Council (CBC), for collecting diapers during their holiday mixer for our Builders for Babies effort! We will be distributing the diapers to non-profit partners for their clients with babies and toddlers this month.
Reaching Out to Tent City Residents
Winter has arrived with a vengeance, and our first thoughts go to those living in the elements. On December 16, we’ll be heading to several tent encampments in Woodbridge, Va., with local organization, “I thirst, I hunger”, which brings home-cooked meals to individuals living in the tent city weekly. We’ll join them to distribute blankets, warm socks, and other cold-weather essentials to the chronically homeless. Thank you to Intercoastal Mortgage for supporting this effort by collecting diapers and thermals at their annual holiday party—this is the third year they’ve held a drive for HomeAid.
Save the Date
NVBIA 2019 President’s Ball – January 26, 2019, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
2nd Annual GolfAid Fundraiser – March 7, 2019, TopGolf Loudoun, more info coming soon!
10th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – June 20, 2019
The HomeAid Northern Virginia office will be closed from Monday, December 24, through Tuesday, January 1, 2019, so we can enjoy a little downtime with our families over the holidays.