Origionly published on NAHB.org
Giving Back is the Way to Go
That was eight years ago, and Boland is still going strong.
His biggest achievement has been the transformation of the Kentucky HBA’s social responsibility committee – charged with working with community charities and non-profits – into the 501(c)3 Building Industry Charitable Foundation (BICF) that’s been able to keep its administrative expenses low and give away the vast majority of the money it raises.
“He basically started the foundation, and since then he’s been non-stop. It’s put the BICF on the map for us,” said Joe Dumstorf, chairman of the NAHB Associates Outreach Network and an HBA member.
And it all started with building a playhouse – first for a child chosen by the local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter, and for the past three years working with Kosair Charities, which is dedicated to helping special-needs children in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
As an established area charity, “they gave us funding to get started and mentorship to give us direction,” said Boland. Through Korsair, the BICF began to work with YouthBuild Louisville, which helps at-risk teenagers earn high school equivalency degrees while they learn construction skills as they build playgrounds and other projects.
With the BICF, the YouthBuild kids are now constructing playhouses and learning life skills from HBA members. “We help get them on the right path,” Boland said.
Each year, the playhouses are unveiled during Homearama, the annual HBA parade of homes, in a flurry of local media and community attention.
Each playhouse is designed not only with the child’s or the family’s wishes in mind, it’s also designed to have a therapeutic benefit – to help the child move around more easily or otherwise accommodate his or her disability.
Members also use the 501(3) status of BICF to funnel money to other important community causes, including help for tornado victims and working through the HBA’s remodelers council to accept donations and build a ramp for a local returning veteran.
Boland wants to make sure that BICF remains on a financially solid footing. “We have to sustain ourselves, and we make sure that the HBA executive committee is always represented,” he said. “It’s really growing, and that’s fun to see. I love to do it.”
And his involvement has given him a new appreciation of the importance of HBA membership – as well as the HBA’s presence in the community.
All these events, both charitable and social, “bring an awareness to the builder members and the associate members,” Boland said. “It demonstrates that this organization is giving back, so as builder members, we ought to give associate members an opportunity,” he said.
In addition to his HBA activities, Boland is also chair of the legislative committee of the National Lumber Dealers Association – another indication that he is a firm believer in the value of membership.
“You try to give back to the association you are part of because if there is a stronger organization, the building industry as a whole is stronger, and your business is stronger. Our business is 75 years old, and we want 75 years more of those deep roots,” he said.
And he says he’s not the only HBA of Louisville member who feels that way. “It says a lot that everybody in the association realizes that they have to give back to the association. We have a lot of good people,” he said.