I wanted to share with you HopeBUILDERS’recent progress achieved with your support, as well as upcoming plans. Your support has been crucial to our collective fight on behalf of Kansas City’s elderly or people (or families with children) with disabilities who don’t have resources to address their unsafe and substandard housing issues themselves.
2019: In spite of the challenging winter from which we’re now emerging, HopeBUILDERS has already provided assistance to 23 clients this year with 11 ramps (new or repairs), two bathroom upgrades, six accessibility improvements and four home repairs. The weather has proven challenging for ramp builds; we were only able to build three ramps in January and February; we jumped to eight ramps in March.
For 2018, we experienced another year of significant growth. Over 340 volunteers contributed more than 8,000 hours to complete 131 projects for 101 clients, comprised of 48 ramps, eight bathroom upgrades and numerous home repair projects. These achievements significantly exceed last year’s, only possible through the efforts of an energetic and dedicated volunteer community, as well as your financial support. From the client perspective, we covered a significant portion of the KC Metro area, as depicted on the map below (2018 clients only).
Other achievements or noteworthy points for 2018:
HopeBUILDERS appeared three times on local TV news. With increased exposure, our monthly client intakes have also increased significantly, at times more than 30 each month. With an increased presence in KC, we continue to have increased number of volunteer inquiries from new groups and individuals. Accordingly, the number of unique volunteers jumped over 30% from 2017 figures and we exceeded project volunteer hours by 14%.
We continue to develop partnerships for funding and/or volunteers. In 2018, we’ve nearly doubled the number of partners (27) and nearly the same proportion of projects done with partners (75). As part of the above partnerships, we’ve also expanded the types of companies we work with, especially for projects like roofs. We were able to replace two roofs in 2018 – one roof was provided pro bono by Blue Rain Roofing and the other was a HopeBUILDERS-initiated collaboration between Rhino Roofing and The Home Depot. We contracted with several companies to provide repair services for three clients (roofing repairs, guttering and garage doors). We continue to have generous support for tools donations from Stanley Black & Decker (DeWalt tools) and no-cost storage for our barrier-free shower bases from Blast-It-Clean (BIC). We continue to pursue collaborative relationships with other nonprofits. The Whole Person has been and continues to be our strongest partner. We’ve had discussions with various local city and county departments and agencies related to collaboration and funding. All agencies have expressed interest in collaboration.
We have applied for 11 grants in 2018. Results: three awards (Blessings Abound, one small award and the FHLB grant described below) and eight declines. While the win results are not what we hoped, we continue to refine our message and build relationships. HopeBUILDERS was awarded a $420,000 four-year grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) for major rehabilitation projects ($2500 minimum spend) on qualified owner-occupied homes. This grant will allow us to install roofs and other specialized work by contractors and fund major volunteer work as skills are available; however, it only allows limited funding for administrative expenses. A detailed announcement is posted on the website. We have hired a part-time construction coordination who will oversee work done by contractors under the aforementioned major grant and assist with general grant coordination.
Near Term Plans: The board and I continue to discuss ways to increase our capacity. While our nearly-all volunteer structure has accomplished amazing work, we have reached its limit. To this end, I spent several days early this year visiting two peer non-profit organizations that have grown significantly in the last 5- 10 years, now both with revenues of $1.0 to $1.5 million a year. This analysis, coupled with our internal discussions, has concluded that we need to:
• Hire a full-time Executive Director (ED). I have served as ED on a part-time paid basis, which has proven beneficial. The board has approved hiring a full-time ED, for which I believe needs to be someone with more non-profit and fundraising experience. I will support this new person to achieve our goals. We’ll be posting the position shortly.
• Hire a full-time Program Coordinator. This position will coordinate funding and volunteer resources for projects. We are interviewing for this position now.
• Hire additional construction staff to organize work so that volunteers can focus on doing the required repair work.
• Acquire vehicles and equipment for projects. Board approved budget for a van to transport tools and assorted home repair parts; working on grant funding now. Future equipment needs include pickup trucks and trailers.
• Acquire more warehouse space. Our small rented storage unit serves us well but is limited. We’ve been offered space at Christmas in October’s (CIO) warehouse at minimal cost. Using this space also encourages increased collaboration with CIO as we share a common mission.
• Acquire office space. As we develop into a full-pledged operation, we’ll need to have some office space. We have a couple immediate low-cost options that we’re reviewing.
If you have interest supporting any of the above strategies or thoughts on how to effectively and efficiently accomplish the above, please contact me. As you know, HopeBUILDERS provides no-cost accessibility solutions and home repairs to qualified clients so that they can stay in their homes longer. HopeBUILDERS is the only nonprofit home repair organization that serves the greater Kansas City region throughout the year. However, the need is immense, with thousands of people/families needing help in the KC Metro area and increasing daily as baby boomers continue to age. Our mission to “Help others live in Safety, Comfort and Dignity” continues ….
As a small token of our appreciation, we are planning a special event to held in July, Stay tuned for details! Thank you again for your continued support. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to explore other ways to help.
Kind regards, Gregory Wayne Executive Director