Habitat Build Impacts John Deere Employees
We typically hear about how a donor impacts a charitable organization, such as donating funds or gifts in kind of products or services to help achieve a financial goal (in Habitat for Humanity case, to help build decent and affordable homes for families) – but when the organization impacts a donor, that’s a different kind of magic.
Last fall, John Deere donated $75,000 to help fund the building of a Habitat for Humanity Niagara house in Grimsby and in January, more than 30 of their employees built wall panels inside its spacious plant and delivered them to the construction site.
As the house took shape, more John Deere employees came out to help install trim and paint the house, all of them working alongside Eduardo and Vanesa who were purchasing the house from Habitat. Then on May 18th, Habitat held its Home Dedication Ceremony and turned the keys over to Eduardo, Vanesa and their three children – and that’s when Mike Blonski, President of John Deere Canada, spoke from the heart on how Habitat impacted himself and his employees.
“When we first began building the house in our plant, we started to see how it all worked, and it really opened our eyes. The future homeowners were actively engaged in helping to build their house alongside our staff,” said Mike. “We got to know the family and that made a linkage to who we were helping. It was a big deal for us building this house for Eduardo, Vanesa and their children, so much so, that we had to curtail the staff who wanted to help.”
Habitat’s Build Day program allows donors the opportunity to participate in helping to build a Habitat house for the qualified family. “Philanthropy is an interesting thing. Often once you contribute to the cause, you never really see who it’s benefiting,” explains Mike. “Habitat for Humanity is one of those organizations where donors can actually see the orchestration and engagement of the people who benefit from your donation.”
In July, John Deere Canada will be helping to fund and build homes in Edmonton as Habitat hosts the 34th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Staff from its Alberta locations will help to build Habitat homes with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter as Habitat’s across Canada help build 150 homes for Canada’s 150th anniversary.
John Deere Canada has committed another $75,000 toward Habitat Niagara’s Women Build project starting in August which will help fund a two-unit semi-detached home for two families in Niagara Falls, one with five children living in overcrowded, unsafe conditions, while the second will be an accessible home for a family with four children, one of whom requires a wheelchair.
“We are excited to be part of the Women Build and help these families,” said Mike “At John Deere we’re committed to be engaged with the community – it’s an important thing for us to do.”