The heart of roofing

Philanthropy is an integral part of the NRCA community


The word philanthropy is derived from the Greek words “philos,” which means loving, and “anthropos,” which means humankind. Some well-known philanthropists include Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Angelina Jolie and Paul Newman.

In the roofing industry, philanthropists abound, but they do not strive to be famous and are not well-known except to the people whose lives have been positively affected by their good deeds. These philanthropists selflessly aid communities because helping others is at the core of who they are as roofing professionals.

Every August, Professional Roofing spotlights some exceptional roofing industry philanthropists. Following are a few of the countless stories of generosity demonstrated by NRCA members in their communities during the past year.

Heart of a Woman

At Venture Construction Group of Florida Inc., Boca Raton, philanthropy is a year-round endeavor.

During springtime 2018, the company sponsored Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse’s annual Heart of a Woman Luncheon, where the strength, courage and determination of women are celebrated. AVDA’s mission is to promote violence-free relationships and social change by offering alternative choices to end violence and domestic abuse.

In October during Domestic Violence Awareness month, Venture Construction Group of Florida sponsored a variety of initiatives throughout the state aimed at reducing domestic violence and increasing awareness and prevention, including a Purple Pajama Party fundraising event at the company’s Stuart location to support programs that help families gain access to safe and secure living environments.

In November, the company donated supplies, materials and labor for an office renovation at AVDA headquarters. And in December, the company hosted a party to raise funds for AVDA and Gemma’s Angels Foundation Boca Raton, an organization dedicated to ending domestic abuse.

“This issue is near and dear to my heart,” says Sandra Lawson, director of operations for Venture Construction Group of Florida. “I lost my sister five years ago to domestic violence. We’re committed to increasing awareness and supporting a variety of advocacy groups throughout the state. This is profound work. It’s an honor to work for a company that truly gives back and partners with so many organizations to create positive change.”

Youth House

Providing opportunities for positive change is all in a day’s work for employees at Rain Guard Roofing, Twin Falls, Idaho. When the Twin Falls Optimist Club needed help refurbishing a Youth House for children aging out of foster case, Rain Guard Roofing didn’t hesitate to help.

According to the National Foster Youth Institute, more than 23,000 children age out of the U.S. foster care system every year. Most of these youths don’t have the ability to obtain a driver’s license while in foster care, and only one out of two will be gainfully employed by the age of 24. After reaching the age of 18, 20% of children who are in foster care become homeless.

The Twin Falls Optimist Club is trying to change those statistics by providing a Youth House for individuals aging out of foster care. After partnering with L&W Supply, Idaho Falls, which generously donated underlayment and asphalt shingles, Rain Guard Roofing provided all the labor and miscellaneous roof system components to install a new roof system on the building.

“Rain Guard Roofing has a 1% Close to Home program where we donate 1% of our gross sales back to the community throughout the year,” says Shae Mayner, president of Rain Guard Roofing. “We decided this was a project we wanted to be part of, and to date it’s the largest donation we have made, primarily because of the scope of work, age of the building and man-hours required to complete the new roof system.”

The building selected for the Youth House was built in the late 1800s and had been moved and added onto multiple times. Sections of the roof were sloped 10:12, had multiple eyebrows and tricky transition wall panels, challenging flashing issues and a flat deck that required low-slope roofing material. To complete the project, Rain Guard Roofing donated 292 man-hours and thousands of dollars.

In addition, Mayner and his wife adopted four children out of foster care and are guardians ad litem for foster children in the system.

“It has been a blessing to see the community come together to support the complete refurbishment of the Youth House during the past year, with the first children moving into the home being given a chance for a life after foster care with structure, mentorship and guidance,” Mayner says. “We are truly blessed to live in such an amazing community.”

Operation Support the Troops

When it comes to uniting a community behind a cause, the employees at Conley Group Inc., Irving, Texas, know how to instigate a successful endeavor.

After Steve Drennan, project manager at Conley Group, was deployed to Iraq, he appreciated receiving care packages and words of support from home. This gave the company the idea to create the Conley Group Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded to support America’s armed forces serving in war zones around the world by providing care packages.

Twice per year, the Conley Group Foundation holds a Care Package Packing Party where employees and volunteers gather to fill hundreds of Christmas stockings with all kinds of treats, necessities and fun items and ship them to members of the armed forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the program began in 2004, the Conley Group Foundation has shipped more than 4,000 pounds of food, toiletries, games, holiday decorations and other gifts to troops overseas.

"It’s important to give back and support soldiers who have volunteered to serve our country and are away from home,” says Conley Group Founder Bill Conley.

Helping a veteran

For Joel Ross, owner of Doyle Inc. Roofing, Cheboygan, Mich., supporting soldiers after they return home can be just as important as helping them abroad. After he read a newspaper article about a veteran in need, he was compelled to help.

In March 2018, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Post No. 7439 was contacted by the Cheboygan County Veteran Services Office about a disabled, elderly veteran in Indian River, Mich., whose low-slope roof had suddenly collapsed. With water leaking into the home, the veteran was not financially capable of paying for repairs. Local fire department and community volunteers were able to temporarily fix the 2-foot-wide hole in the roof, but a permanent solution was required. The Cheboygan Daily Tribune published an article about the volunteer project and the work that was needed on the home.

“My wife read the article and asked whether we could help,” Ross explains. “Within a few days’ time and numerous phone calls, I was able to get all the required equipment and materials donated and on-site to begin the replacement of the collapsed roof system.”

Ross and his crew then donated their time to repair the veteran’s roof on a cold winter weekend.

“The project needed to be done as soon as possible, which led to working on a Saturday during the month of March in northern Michigan, which means snow, ice, cold temperatures, etc.,” Ross says. “Although the weather was not optimal, all my employees showed up to donate their time to get the job done.”

The project was completed before Saturday evening, and the local veterans’ office bought pizza and soda to show their appreciation for helping a local man who has served his country.

Rebuilding Together®

After employees at West Roofing Systems Inc., La Grange, Ohio, heard Paul Kijewski, a 71-year-old retired Navy veteran, needed help with his home repairs, they partnered with the Northeast Ohio chapter of Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit organization that helps rebuild homes and communities, to obtain the necessary permits and material donations. The employees then called on long-time business partner KleenWork Construction, Elyria, Ohio, for its expertise with asphalt shingle roofing work.

Along with generous donations from Allied Building Products Corp., East Rutherford, N.J.; Beacon Roofing Supply Inc., Herndon, Va.; CertainTeed Corp., Malvern, Pa.; and GAF, Parsippany, N.J., the West Roofing Systems crew was able to provide Kijewski with a much-needed roof system.

“The new roof is the biggest gift I’ve ever received,” Kijewski says. “I no longer have to worry about my roof. It never would have gotten done if it hadn’t been for Rebuilding Together and all its contractors who worked on my home. The workers were fast, courteous and did a beautiful job. The whole experience was outstanding. It’s been a godsend.”

Hey Jude

For TAMKO® Building Products LLC, Joplin, Mo., providing a new roof system for the St. Jude Dream Home project means helping to find a cure for childhood cancer.

The St. Jude Dream Home project partners with builders, material suppliers and other businesses to build beautiful homes in communities across the U.S. at little or no cost and then raffles off chances to win the homes. All proceeds from the raffle directly benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its mission of finding a cure for childhood cancer.

During the past year, TAMKO Building Products partnered with Colorado builder Covington Homes to provide a new home at zero cost.

“This is TAMKO Building Products’ way of using its resources to help fight childhood cancer,” says David Humphreys, president and CEO of TAMKO Building Products. “We love how collaborative these projects are and that so many builders and suppliers get to add their support to an organization as established and well-respected as St. Jude.”

This is the first year TAMKO Building Products worked with Covington Homes to provide the roofing materials for a St. Jude Dream House, but its participation with St. Jude spans many states and many years. TAMKO Building Products works with builders and distributors across the U.S. to donate the roofing materials for multiple St. Jude Dream Home projects every year, including Dream Home projects currently underway in Louisiana and Missouri.

In addition to helping find a cure for cancer, after tornadoes ripped through Missouri May 22, TAMKO Building Products donated $100,000 to the Ozark Chapter of the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts. The tornadoes damaged 200 homes and killed three people. Although no TAMKO Building Products employees were injured, several employees’ homes were significantly damaged. Teams of employees helped co-workers and other neighbors with clean-up efforts.

“We can’t say enough about the generosity of TAMKO Building Products,” says Stacy Burks, executive director of the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri. “We’re so thankful for the [donation]—it’s going to help many people in their recovery and future disaster relief efforts.”

Casa Esperanza

When it comes to helping communities recover from disasters and storms, roofing professionals are among the most accomplished.

After hailstorm damage forced the closure of Casa Esperanza Inc., an independent nonprofit organization in Albuquerque, N.M., that provides housing to out-of-town families with members being treated for serious medical conditions, Lori Gunnare, business development officer for National Roofing, Albuquerque, toured the damaged facility.

“The linen was destroyed, the carpet was ruined, and the walls were saturated with water,” Gunnare says. “There were families displaced from the storm, and that’s when I realized all the good they do. That’s what inspired me to think about what we can do to help out.”

When Gunnare presented Chrisann Gray, executive director of Casa Esperanza, with a check for $50,000 during a National Roofing holiday employee appreciation event, it was an emotional moment.

“There is a special place in my heart for National Roofing and their employees and for the difference they make in our communities,” Gray says. “National Roofing helping the most vulnerable in the community is just overwhelming.”

The Cottage

For Excellent Roofing LLC, Memphis, Tenn., helping the most vulnerable in the community means providing safe shelter to those who do not have a place to call home.

In 2017, Excellent Roofing was contacted by Doug Warner, a volunteer at The Cottage, a homeless shelter in Memphis, to provide an estimate for a new roof system. A year later, The Cottage still needed a new roof. After hearing about Excellent Roofing’s volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity,® Warner reached out to John Bennett, owner of Excellent Roofing, for help because the shelter did not have the money for the new roof system.

Without hesitation, Bennett coordinated materials and 17 crew members to remove and install a new roof system and gutters on The Cottage Sept. 29, 2018.

“Our company takes great pride in giving back to our community, whether we’re building Habitat for Humanity houses or leading apprenticeship programs for nonviolent offenders released from prison,” Bennett says. “We have the attitude of serving others and doing our best, and it’s so especially meaningful to help those who don’t have a place to live.”

Thanks to Bennett and volunteers, The Cottage can continue providing hundreds of homeless people with warm meals and safe shelter.

No Roof Left Behind™

For the eleventh year, Roofing by Curry, Sarasota, Fla., has provided a new roof system for a local homeowner in need through No Roof Left Behind, a nationwide program that gives folks in the community a way to help their neighbors who have fallen on hard times. The No Roof Left Behind program provides a local contractor the framework to provide a new roof system at no cost to a deserving homeowner in need.

“Helping others and giving back to the community is really the main purpose of Roofing Curry’s No Roof Left Behind program,” says Gary Curry, president of Roofing by Curry.

This year, the community selected Cindy and Sheldon Toepfer from Venice, Fla., to receive a new roof system. The Toepfers were having a difficult time after Cindy had emergency back surgery and her husband, Sheldon, was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia and had to retire. Roofing by Curry installed the Toepfers’ new roof system May 3.

Roofing by Curry’s No Roof Left Behind program now is taking nominations for the coming year. More information is available at Roofing by Curry’s Facebook page and website, www.noroofleftbehind.com.

Hope Healing Center

In the southwestern corner of Nebraska is a town called Whiteclay with a population of 12 people. Before the state’s liquor board voted to close the unincorporated town’s four liquor stores in 2017, the stores supplied an annual 3.5 million cans of beer to residents of the officially “dry” Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

During the past few decades, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder has increased on the reservation to one in four births, along with an unprecedented rate of substance abuse, teen suicide, child neglect, and sexual and physical violence against native women.

To help the community, a Whiteclay Memorial Hope Healing Center is being developed to diagnose and treat Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and assist affected families. Although services provided primarily will help children in Nebraska and Pine Ridge, the benefits will be realized nationwide as it will be the first children’s facility in the U.S. to specifically address Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

During the past year, Alan Jacobsen, president of A-J Roofing & Waterproofing Co., Lincoln, Neb., was instrumental in setting up the Whiteclay Memorial organization that will be the umbrella to the Hope Healing Center and incorporating it as a nonprofit organization. He worked with an attorney to secure sponsorship, enabling people to contribute tax-deductible gifts, and established a local address for the organization. Jacobsen currently is working with grant writers and pursuing additional funds for construction of new facilities. At his own expense, he has met with staff of Western Michigan Children’s Trauma Center to learn what needs the Whiteclay facility will have and has taken the lead in working with architects and contractors to provide oversight of drawings, blue prints, construction schedules and suppliers for managing the project.

“We appreciate A-J Roofing allowing Mr. Jacobsen the time to assist us in our efforts to build this facility,” says Nora Boesem, executive director of the Whiteclay Memorial Hope Healing Center. “The expertise, services and resources being provided by A-J Roofing and Mr. Jacobsen are difficult to assign a value to. It is a pleasure working with Mr. Jacobsen in providing these services to the children and their families in Nebraska and South Dakota.”

With open hearts

From stuffing Christmas stockings and donating roof systems to establishing nonprofit organizations to help even more people, the roofing industry has a long-demonstrated history of generous philanthropy.

What philanthropic work will your company undertake during the coming year? Be sure to tell NRCA about it and highlight it during National Roofing Week scheduled for June 7-13, 2020, where one day will be dedicated to charitable acts performed by the roofing industry. For more information, visit www.nrca.net/National-Roofing-Week.

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.



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Did you know?

If your company is doing great work to help an organization, you can nominate the project for a CNA/NRCA Community Involvement Award. The winning project will receive $5,000 payable to the charity. To view a video about the most recent winning project, see below. For more information and a nomination form, contact Jaime Sessions, NRCA’s communications manager, at (847) 493-7537 or jsessions@nrca.net.

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