Executive Director & CEO Corner
“There’s power in numbers” … “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” … “better together.” No matter how you look at it, humans have long celebrated the fact that we can achieve more when we work together, and one of the most rewarding aspects of working with HomeAid is borne out of the relationships that we share with our homebuilding partners and non-profit service providers. Yes, we at our core build and renovate housing and programmatic facilities for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of being homeless, but what we ultimately do is so much bigger than that. As you’ll read in “In Your Neighborhood,” we’ve recently completed a total renovation of a condo owned by Shelter House that – due to water damage, mold and asbestos – was uninhabitable. While Shelter House was able to remediate that issue, the unit was left without flooring, walls, and doors. Renovating it would take a $58,000 investment and expertise that they didn’t have. This is why HomeAid exists. So in partnership with Stanley Martin Homes and 15 trade partners, we led the charge and bridged what would otherwise have been an impossible funding and capacity gap and – most importantly – enabled Shelter House to serve more people by getting this unit back online. As Joe, Shelter House’s executive director & CEO, said to me, ‘We talk a lot about mission fulfillment, but this is also about human fulfillment … giving people who are at the lowest of lows the keys to their new home gives them not just a place to live, but a path to restoring their dignity.’ Replicate that over and over, and it becomes clear that by enabling non-profits to own, maintain, and purchase even more units, we’re also supporting the people they support and are a vital part of the overall healing journey.
The same can be said of events like Arts in the Park: Treating families to a show at Wolf Trap wouldn’t be in the cards for most non-profits, but our supporters and fundraisers make it possible for us to offer this kind of “extra” that creates priceless summertime family memories. Similarly, gathering a team of volunteers to dedicate an entire day to cleaning up and landscaping the yards of multiple affordable housing units owned by our partners – as we did last month with the NVBIA Future Leaders group – is just one more way we can help those who couldn’t afford to do so on their own, spreading kindness and lightening the burden on our nonprofit community. Better together, indeed.
In the Spotlight
Arts in the Park: HomeAid’s Newest Way to Make Memories
(This event is geared towards our non-profit partners, their clients & families)
After nine joyful summers of treating families working with local shelters to a Night at the Ballpark – where we hosted hundreds at a summer’s night baseball game – the ball club moved operations to Fredericksburg, effectively ending our ability to continue that tradition. But knowing how important it is to create family memories and eliminate the stress of “how will I pay for it?”, HomeAid Northern Virginia is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts! On Saturday, July 31, we will celebrate our 1st Annual Arts in the Park event for our shelter partner staff and clients, featuring “Snow White,” performed by Maryland Youth Ballet students, at the Filene Center.
All of our guests will be provided free parking and admission, and we will have reserved space on the lawn. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and enjoy the show, and the park grounds will also be available for families to enjoy after the performance. Families will receive a boxed lunch, and all children in attendance will be given a new backpack, and a gift card for school supplies for the upcoming school year. In addition to introducing families to the dance troupe, we are excited to help welcome them to the National Park Service’s only park dedicated to the performing arts while also celebrating a day of music, dance, food, and the outdoors. This event will be held rain or shine!
Make plans today to get involved!
- Tickets are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so case managers and executive directors, please let Cilda Pretorius (703-953-3525) know how many tickets your organization will need for staff and families that will attend – we want to avoid “no shows” as much as possible to give more people a chance to attend. All persons, regardless of age, must have a ticket for ticketed performances at the Filene Center.
- Your sponsorship can help send hard working staff & families from local shelters to our 1st Annual Arts in the Park Event at Wolf Trap – and you will receive recognition on our event signage and on our website. Thank you to our event sponsors to date:
- Donate a backpack or coordinate a Backpack Drive! About a quarter of people experiencing homelessness that HomeAid’s non-profit partners serve are children. This summer, we will once again give a new, full-size backpack to every child big and small, who attends our Arts in the Park Event at Wolf Trap. Contact HomeAid to let us know that your organization would like to participate in a Backpack Drive, or if you would like to send donations directly to our office using our Amazon wish list. All backpacks will need to be collected by July 23.
In Your Neighborhood
HomeAid, Stanley Martin Homes Renovate Condo for Shelter House
HomeAid Northern Virginia, Builder Captain Stanley Martin Homes and 15 trade partners have put the finishing touches on a complete, $58,000 renovation of a 1,495 square foot, three–bedroom condo in Annandale, which is part of Shelter House’s affordable housing program. One hundred percent of the project – including furniture – was donated. The property had been damaged by water, which was remediated, but a key aspect of the renovation focused on replacing flooring with long-lasting luxury vinyl plank; replacing drywall, baseboards, trim, and doors; and completely renovating the bathrooms and kitchen with all new appliances, counters, and cabinetry.
Trade partners also updated the electrical and HVAC updates, ran cabling behind the walls so it was no longer visible, repainted the interior, and even took care of small details like replacing light switch plates and floor registers, snaking pipes with years of buildup and replacing window blinds to make this a complete transformation.
“Organizations like Shelter House are service providers – we’re here for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness – and the reality is that we don’t have the funds for capital improvement projects beyond basic maintenance,” said Shelter House Executive Director and CEO Joe Meyer. “That’s where HomeAid Northern Virginia, along with their builders and trade partners, come in and make our work possible. Their work in creating real-feel home environments has an obvious and very visible impact on those we serve, but it also has an enormous impact on us as an organization. We own 10 houses, and without HomeAid’s Turnover Program and their ability to do total renovations like the one they did on this home, we wouldn’t be able to afford these homes. It’s really that simple: HomeAid makes it possible for us to keep these homes and focus our resources on building services for families with little or no income. Giving people a sense of belonging and support is our expertise, but we can’t do it alone; we depend on HomeAid’s expertise at building and providing homes that look brand new … it’s what restores a family’s dignity and instills in them the belief that they can do this.”
“HomeAid Northern Virginia does such important work in all of the communities that Stanley Martin operates in, here in Northern Virginia, and we’re happy to be a part of their efforts and contribute even in this small way,” added Stanley Martin Homes Division President Tom Twomey. “I owe a big thank you to our trade partners who really made this transformation possible. We spend a lot of time and effort as a company to align ourselves with sub-contractors who share Stanley Martins’ mission, vision and values, and our experience on the Shelter House project affirmed and validated those efforts. Our trade partners were ‘all in’, without hesitation and showed tremendous generosity. Everyone involved with the project is grateful for the opportunity to support Shelter House and their important mission.”
Thank you, Stanley Martin Homes, and the following trade partners, for providing a beautiful new – and permanent – home for a family who needs it.
Armstrong Flooring Inc.
Commonwealth Lighting of VA
Famous Plumbing Supply
General Electric Appliances
Heritage Contracting, LLC.
McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning
Six townhomes – all affordable housing units owned by Cornerstones Inc. – received some much-need TLC and beautification last week, when 18 volunteers from NVBIA’s Future Leaders of the Building Industry dedicated a day to yard cleanup and landscaping at the properties. The group trimmed, weeded, planted flowers, and mulched the front and backyards at all of the housing units after raising enough funds to pay for 100 percent of the needed landscaping materials.
“All of the townhomes are within a mile of each other, so we were able to work through all six throughout the afternoon fairly easily,” said Gray Coyner, CPA, vice chair of Future Leaders. “It was a hot day and hard work, but it felt great to bring together volunteers who really wanted to make an impact – not only will the residents enjoy their yards that much more, but thanks to corporate sponsorships and individual donations, the cost was totally covered so that Cornerstones and HomeAid didn’t need to spend any of their funding. It was a great experience, with volunteers gaining great insights into HomeAid and seeing firsthand what a difference we can make together.”
When volunteers were wrapping up for the day, a Cornerstones clients approached HomeAid Northern Virginia Executive Director and CEO Kristyn Burr to say, “Last year, a volunteer came and did mulch, but this year, you guys came in and not only did mulch and cleared out leaves, but you took the time to plant flowers. I sadly can’t afford to do this, but this is where my kids are growing up … thank you so much. You have an incredible organization and wonderful volunteers. This means so much.”
Cornerstones, a longtime HomeAid partner, was established in 1970 to address the need for affordable housing and has grown to become a significant human services provider and advocate for those struggling to make ends meet in Northern Virginia.
Thank you to NVBIA, The Future Leaders, our sponsors, and all of the volunteers for dedicating your afternoon to help improve these Cornerstones properties and make the residents smile!
Financial Sponsors and In-kind Donors
Visual Edge Landscape & Land Management
Wheat’s Landscape Company
William Bradford II
Making It Count
20 Years. 20 Ways of Making a Difference
From 2010 to 2019, we celebrated the very best of summer and family memory making, as we treated families from local partner organizations to our “Annual Night at the Ballpark.” The beloved tradition ended because the Potomac Nationals moved their operations to Fredericksburg – but for nine years, we enjoyed welcoming 1,125+ dads, moms, kids, individuals, and staff from local shelters and partner nonprofits to Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge for a minor league baseball game. Over the years, kids took home 3,450+ back-to-school backpacks, got their photos taken with mascot Uncle Slam, and ran the bases after the game; we handed out goodie bags and concession vouchers; and everyone made lasting memories of a summertime tradition at the ballpark. It was a wonderful run, with attendees telling us every year that it was one of their best nights out as a family. While our new outing will feel very different, we look forward to helping families enjoy a day out together while making more memories! Check out our new partnership and this year’s event.
Giving Back, Early and Often
Gray Coyner, CPA, vice chair of NVBIA’s Future Leaders of the Building Industry and a principal with Thompson Greenspon, has been a longtime supporter of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s, and in recent years has grown his support from one of attending events to taking an active personal role in increasing our impact with boots-on-the-ground volunteerism. Find out why Gray has made giving back part of his personal credo and why he believes the best time to get involved is early in a career.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved with NVBIA’s Future Leaders group? And, what inspired you to step up and take a leadership position?
A: Thompson Greenspon is very supportive of HomeAid and NVBIA, so I have known about both organizations ever since I started working here. I realized that I wanted to do some networking, and they both seemed like good organizations to get involved with, so I focused on them from the start. I met Avi Sareen, longtime chair of NVBIA’s Future Leaders, at my second networking event I’d ever attended, and he really sold me on the vision of Future Leaders, with its platform of education, advocacy, networking, and philanthropy, which is of course where HomeAid comes in. That focus really resonated with me; looking back to college and even high school, I’ve always wanted to give back and be involved. Volunteering and taking leadership if that’s what’s needed is very important to me.
So as I began volunteering for individual events with NVBIA and Future Leaders, the time came when Chair Eric Bogumil and I, as vice chair, sat down to determine our priorities, our team building ideas, and our philanthropic efforts, and while COVID derailed a lot of plans, we are really excited about this year as things are starting to open back up. We’re excited about getting more involved with HomeAid in ways other than just fundraising – while that’s critically important, we think getting boots on the ground is also really important. I’ve heard the stories of who we’re supporting at events like HomeAid’s Gala, and I’m looking forward to working with others who want to help personally.
Q: What are you most struck by in terms of homelessness in Northern Virginia?
A: I’m a CPA, so statistics are a big part of what I do, and I have to say, after growing up in Fauquier County, I just didn’t realize there was such a high level of homelessness in Northern Virginia. It’s been eye opening, and hearing so many stories of the lives that HomeAid has changed, along with the statistics, made me realize that it’s an issue we need to work on. I can’t be ignorant about this pressing issue anymore, and taking this role with Future Leaders is one more way to do that. I think it will be a great opportunity to expose a lot of new people to HomeAid; a cleanup event we held last month at six townhomes owned by Cornerstones [see Making It Count in this issue!], for example, introduced a whole new generation of people who maybe hadn’t before heard of HomeAid. It’s an important way to raise awareness, raise funds, and get the needed work done.
Ultimately, we need to constantly convey that we don’t need to wait for the end of our careers to get involved – we don’t need to wait until we’re managers, principals, partners, or owners … we can get involved NOW, at any stage of our careers. Our giving doesn’t need to be grandiose; we just need to get involved and start early.
Q: Tell us about your career … what do you love most about the industry?
A: I’m one of the newest principals with Thompson & Greenspon, the construction niche lead, and focus primarily on financial statements, audits, reviews, consulting, and tax work for both the company and the owners. I started here as an intern – thanks to networking through family friends – and ended up interning for the summer between my junior and senior year of college. I was made an offer, and was just recently made a principal. I love that our clients are building tangible assets; seeing the process of going from raw land to built buildings and infrastructure is really exciting to see, and the people who are drawn to the industry are all such can-do, get it done people. It’s been an amazing career.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to their career?
A: I wish I would have started networking during my first year or two; I waited probably five years, and I should have started earlier. I know it’s hard; I remember well that first event, walking in and not knowing anyone. But once you find that one person who will take you under their wing, it’s not long before you walk into a room full of friends instead of strangers. But you have to take that first step, so do it early on.
Are You Registered?
Our 2021 Annual Builders & Friends BBQ is just a week away, on June 17, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the North Lake Pavilion at the National Botanic Garden in South Riding. Are you registered?! This event is one of our best opportunities to show our gratitude for our trade partners and Builder Captains who support our construction all year long, and one of the best opportunities for unbeatable networking alongside all-you-can-eat boxed BBQ meals, open bar with craft beers and seasonal cocktails, live music, corn hole games, and a raffle with great prizes. We hope to see you there!
Our enormous gratitude goes to Buhl Electric Co. Inc. for choosing us as their sole beneficiary of their Golf Tournament in May. Thanks to John Buhl, his incredible team, and all who came out to play, we received more than $35,000 to support our mission! Third-party events are always such a welcome opportunity for us, as they extend our reach to individuals we may not otherwise get to meet, allow us to spread awareness and education about homelessness in our community, and mean the world to our small and hardworking staff who wouldn’t otherwise have the bandwidth to tackle another event as big as this!
Please join us in thanking and congratulating Cilda Pretorius, our events manager, and Marcia Gatonni, our accountant, for celebrating five years and seven years, respectively, with HomeAid Northern Virginia! We’re a small staff, and we really mean it when we say these women are an indispensable part of our dream team. Thank you Cilda and Marcia for your dedication.
Save the Date
12th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – Thursday, June 17, 2021, “North Lake Pavilion” at The National Botanic Garden, 26314 Ticonderoga Road, South Riding, VA 20152 (Please note the new venue)
Toll Brothers 4 Charity Golf Event – Monday, June 21, 2021, Belmont Country Club, Ashburn, VA (Benefiting HomeAid Northern Virginia)
*Save The Date* 20th Annual HomeAid Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 13, 2021, Lansdowne Resort & Spa, Leesburg, VA