Why do you feel it’s important for your business to support our area’s nonprofits?
The greatest part of owning your own business is the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others. This is obvious with our employees, vendors and business partners, but our community is just as important. Our community is the lifeblood of a thriving company. Without them, there would be no one to serve. If we had no one to serve, we would have no business in the first place.
A thriving business provides an unparalleled opportunity to make change in our community. Not only are we able to funnel some of our profits to organizations that resonate with our core values, but we also have a team of people who can volunteer and work side by side with nonprofits working to make so many lives better.
Why do you support this particular nonprofit and what does your business do to benefit the organization?
We are in the business of protecting what’s most important to our clients. Much of the time, this comes in the form of protecting their home. Habitat for Humanity is in the business of making the dream of home ownership come true—specifically, those in our community who might not otherwise experience that dream because of income restrictions.
We see our clients’ dream of home ownership come true every day. We know that home ownership is the foundation for any thriving family. It’s where you choose to raise your family and the community that becomes your neighborhood. The financial investment you make becomes an asset that you can build upon. This is why our agency supports Habitat for Humanity. It’s this mission that is going to drive change in our community and the families living here.
Our agency principal, Jesse Biretz, has served on the board of Habitat for Humanity for almost four years. He currently serves as vice president of the board and invests a lot time into helping the organization complete their mission. When Erie Insurance heard of Jesse’s efforts with Habitat, they jumped at the chance to support the cause. In 2018, Erie donated $10,000 to a three-home project on Hummel Street in Harrisburg, as well as volunteers to assist in the construction of those homes. They jumped at the chance again when they heard of this opportunity with TheBurg, donating $1,000. Business partners like Erie Insurance, which believe in community, is how we will change the world.
Describe your organization and the importance of corporate or foundation support to further your mission.
Working in partnership with individuals, local businesses and faith organizations, Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area aims to end poverty housing in Dauphin County and ensure that everyone has a decent place to live. Our homeownership program provides opportunities for low- to moderate-income individuals and families to achieve their dream of buying a house, thus breaking the cycle of poverty and creating a safe and stable place to call home. Harrisburg Habitat also runs a Critical Home Repair program, designed for current homeowners to seek assistance with needed repairs so they may remain in their homes and to revitalize neighborhoods by reducing blight. In addition to our building initiatives, HFH also maintains the Habitat ReStore, a retail location selling new and gently used building supplies, materials, furniture, and appliances to the public. Proceeds from donated items are used to further our building efforts.
The support of local corporations and foundations is critical to our success and mission. We have been very fortunate to be on the receiving end of funding to complete our build projects, in-kind donations of supplies and materials to offset costs, as well as volunteer time. The generosity of our local community helps Habitat build capacity to serve more families in need and allows us to build strong relationships with our corporate partners, raise awareness about Habitat’s mission, and engage others in meaningful service.
For 2021, what is your greatest need for corporate or foundation support?
With so many people struggling due to the pandemic, the need for Habitat’s services is only going to increase throughout the year. So many Harrisburg families have lost jobs, are living paycheck to paycheck, and are balancing virtual learning for their kids. Homeowners are no longer able to plan for home repairs, instead focusing on the immediate needs in front of them. Habitat’s hope is that our Critical Home Repair program can alleviate some of that burden by assisting with repairs that will keep families safe, warm and dry. Our biggest need for corporate and foundation support in 2021 will be to expand the Critical Home Repair program so we can take on more projects and serve more families county-wide. In addition to monetary support, we would love to increase donations of materials, supplies and professional services. We also hope to be able to welcome back volunteer groups to our sites in the near future.
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