Remodeling Toward A Brighter Future for Children in Need

In the competitive world of the remodeling industry, contractors often bid against each other when consumers request proposals from more than one company. But that competitive spirit also serves as a catalyst for good things to be given back to the community through service projects. For more than 20 years, the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry has hosted annual or semiannual community service projects that bring remodeling companies and suppliers together to give back to the community in which they live and work.

These projects involve a team of NARI members who work together to plan out the project, which often is a home that needs basic maintenance help or universal design elements, such as wider doors and wheelchair ramps because of the physical limitations of the homeowners. The project can involve a local charitable organization with limited funds when it comes to improving the physical environment of their offices or building.

Since 2010, Kansas City NARI has partnered with Kansas City, Mo.-based The Children’s Place to give back to the community. The relationship started when Kansas City NARI’s Remodeled Homes Tour Committee was looking for a charity to partner with so part of the tour proceeds could be given to a local cause.

The Children’s Place is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to promote positive mental health and developmental outcomes through prevention, treatment and family support for children, ages 6 weeks to 8 years, who are survivors of abuse, neglect and trauma.

When Kansas City NARI began brainstorming about how we could work together with The Children’s Place for a common good, it became clear we had the opportunity to create a lasting partnership with a worthwhile organization.

Throughout the past two years Kansas City NARI has completed the following projects and fundraising events:

  • Remodeled the main meeting room at The Children’s Place in 2010 and remodeled the lobby/waiting area in two phases in spring and fall of 2011.
  • Hosted a virtual shower and presented The Children’s Place with more than $1,500 worth of clothes, toys and diapers. We set up a baby shower registry at Target so people could buy items directly, and we also collected money to buy the needed items.
  • Hosted a diaper drive at a holiday party and delivered more than 1,300 diapers to The Children’s Place.
  • Gave more than $2,000 from proceeds from the Remodeled Homes Tour to The Children’s Place.
  • Moved a fence and built a new fence to enclose The Children’s Place playground/garden area to keep the children safe from the busy street on which the organization is located.
  • NARI members have donated more than $4,400 in cash donations to help purchase the necessary materials to complete the community service projects. This has been critical because some of the materials have been commercial products that chapter supplier members don’t carry.
  • More than 75 different companies donated cash, materials and/or labor to help Kansas City NARI complete these community service projects.

In return, The Children’s Place has hired NARI members via grants and donations and has paid them to do projects, such as installing new carpeting, updating a bathroom and upgrading electrical service. Our chapter also has received promotional mentions in “HandPrints,” the newsletter of The Children’s Place that is sent to donors and volunteers. The Children’s Place hosts an annual fundraising luncheon attended by nearly 1,000 business professionals. Kansas City NARI is given a tabletop area and presents a PowerPoint slideshow about the community service projects.

Because most of the work is done on weekends, Kansas City NARI members haven’t had the opportunity to meet the children at The Children’s Place. It was a joy for a group of children from The Children’s Place to come to one of the chapter meetings to say thank you. Our chapter won the NARI National 2011 Chapter Community Project Award for our work at The Children’s Place.

The community service projects Kansas City NARI completes serve two purposes: to give back to the community and to bring competitors together for the greater good.

Jan Burchett is the executive director of Kansas City NARI.