The annual Foundation Builders Breakfast was buzzing with conversation early in the morning. The Breakfast honors outstanding contributors to our cause, and encourages people to support HBF’s work. To kick off the event, HBF Board Treasurer Earl Pierce announced Delap LLC would match donations up to $5,000. “I believe HBF is trying to bring things together in ways that others don’t, and haven’t been able to. HBF brings contributors together, brings teams together, and provides the people to get things done”.
HBF Executive Director Brenda Ketah announced the award winners for 2023, beginning with Builder of the Year. Lennar Portland was honored for bringing volunteers to quarterly work parties for our shelter partners. Lennar’s Mike Rovig says they are honored to help. “We want to make a difference, and that is why we come back every single time”.
HBF Board Member Jeffrey Tamburro, of NW Natural was awarded Volunteer of the Year. His contributions include serving on every HBF event committee including hosting our Donor Appreciation event at NW Natural’s Portland rooftop. Ketah complimented him for always going above and beyond. She shared that Tamburro taped a DIY dessert recipe for the 2020 Virtual Gala, and individually wrapping pepperoni sticks for Trap Shoot due to Covid concerns. Tamburro was modest as he accepted his award. “Most of what I have done is just the sum total of those little things. It’s a collaboration with so many other people. And that is what makes it great”.
Panel Shares HBF Impact
HBF convened a panel to help explain the impact of the work HBF and volunteers bring to the community. Lisa Horness represented Do Good Multnomah, which operates two HBF projects; St. John’s Village and Veteran’s Village. Horness says although the Portland homeless crisis may seem overwhelming, the work HBF is performing is making an impact. “It may or may not be able to solve an issue as large as homelessness in a day, a week, a year, or even ten years, but you’re going to make a difference in an individual’s life, and many individual’s lives for the long term, and for the remainder of their lives, and that is incredibly profound “.
The panel also gave us the opportunity to share ways people without construction skills can help, such as making Care Kits of valuable toiletries. Caroline Pope, of Portland Fire Bureau’s Street Response says the Kits help them respond to distress calls about people living outdoors. “If you think about folks who are on the street, access to basic needs to take a shower, and shave, things like that, and have those daily habits that all of us do and take for granted, it really makes a difference.” HBF supporters contribute funds for the materials, build the kits, then HBF brings them to causes such as Portland Street Response and Blanchet House.
HBF’s Project Manager Chris McDowell led the discussion with builders who’ve helped with hands-on projects for our nonprofit partners. Robert Wood, of Mountainwood Homes praises HBF for providing opportunities for his team to work in the community, such as making repairs to Project Homeless Connect “Our team really loves to give back. And they feel really good about when we do the work. Even though I have a sore back and get into blackberries”.
Lennar’s Rovig says employees from all of their divisions involved with HBF community projects. “If you are doing the right thing for the right reason, people are going to come on board and it just clicks. And then you do another, and all off a sudden you have 40 people knocking on your door and saying-how can I get involved- I want to do that”! He says the connections HBF provides are invaluable, as they would not have the time to organize the work parties.
Kevin Smith, of TaylorSmith Sustainable Construction says everyone sees the problem of homeless people living on the streets, and that he appreciates HBF for providing them opportunities. He admits, it’s tough for to bring his small team; “Sometimes it can be a challenge to say hey, can you drop everything you are doing and come out here for multiple days…but when you ask the question, everyone is down”. Do Good Multnomah’s Horness told the crowd the covered pavilion that Taylor-Smith built for Veteran’s Village has doubled their community space and is used every day.
The service providers encouraged the Breakfast attendees to get involved with HBF sponsored projects, as many organizations serving people experiencing homelessness don’t have maintenance budgets. Horness says the recent Lennar cleanup at St. John’s Village keeps the space feeling like home and provides people a dignified space to recover.
Builder Wood gave some encouragement to people who’ve not worked on a project before. Wood admits, he was put off by the appearance of a day shelter HBF asked him to renovate because he was overwhelmed by the number of people waiting outside for services. But, he says he is glad they stepped up. “We made an impact, and as I drive by-this place is clean, organized, and is a great place for the people it serves “. Project Manager Chris McDowell says improving shelter buildings functionality and appearance helps the work of our nonprofit partners because it can ease community concerns. HBA Chief Executive Director Dave Nielsen praised recent HBF partnerships with local construction education programs, whose students have built amenities for shelters such as picnic tables and seating. Nielsen says this outreach inspires future residential builders as they begin their careers.
Breakfast Brings New Help for Houseless Neighbors
The attendees were motivated by the morning. Many people took Care Kits to provide their own outreach to people in need. In addition, they cleared out a pile of blankets donated by sackcloth and ashes. This Salem, Oregon based company creates blankets out of recycled materials, and donates a blanket to organizations serving homeless people for each blanket they sell. We thank sackcloth & ashes for donating 100 blankets to HBF outreach programs.
Additionally, supporters opened their wallets. Within hours, donations matched and exceeded the donation given by DeLap LLC, which then contributed another $2500 to meet their enthusiasm. Overall, the Breakfast raised more than $11,000 for HBF . If you’d like to donate to HBF and to learn more about our projects, go to BuildHopepdx.org.