Homebuilders have heart
By Christine Schwanke
Feb. 13, 2002
In honor of the St. Valentine’s holiday, we salute homebuilders with heart. The Wisconsin Builders Association, affiliated local builders associations and individual members across the state are committed to helping others.
Two years ago, the WBA formalized its interest in helping others by creating the Wisconsin Builders Foundation. This 501(c)(3) organization provides charitable relief to those in need, promotes the building industry as an excellent career choice, encourages ongoing training for professionals in the industry as well as the home-buying public, and supports research for the advancement of the industry.
Accomplishments of the WBA Foundation so far include disaster-relief aid, urban-forestry education and scholarships to students pursuing careers in the building industry at Wisconsin technical colleges. In a special fund-raising drive, the WBA Foundation raised $24,135 for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Brunsell Lumber of Madison made the largest single donation — $5,000. All money raised went to assist those whose homes were damaged or lost in the neighborhood surrounding the World Trade Center.
In addition to the monies collected by the WBA Foundation, many local associations affiliated with the Wisconsin Builders Association held their own fund-raisers following 9/11. From these, many thousands of dollars went to such agencies as the Red Cross, the United Way and the National Association of Home Builders Relief Fund. Two of the largest, the Brown County Home Builders Association in Green Bay and the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee, each raised nearly $5,000 for the relief effort.
The future of the home-building industry requires youth to choose the industry as a career, and builders associations across the state are working to encourage that choice.
Mentioned in this Article
The majority of the 23 local associations that comprise the Wisconsin Builders Association have scholarship funds. The largest, the Bruce Horner Memorial Scholarship Fund of the MBA, offers three scholarships annually to students pursuing careers related to the building industry.
Other locals, such as the La Crosse Area Builders Association, fund Tool Grant programs that provide needed equipment for high schools in their area with carpentry and construction courses.
Homebuilders associations also participate in a large number of community service projects. For example, members of the St. Croix Valley Home Builders Association, New Richmond, and the Northland Area Builders Association, Hayward, volunteered labor and materials to help Siren rebuild after the devastating tornado that ripped through the town. Mid-Shores Home Builders Association, Kiel, one of the smallest affiliated locals in the state, with only 42 members, completed a Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build in 2001, providing a much-needed, quality home for a local family.
Other local associations assist in disaster relief efforts and build Habitat for Humanity homes as well as hold food drives in conjunction with their Home Products Shows, participate in the Toys for Tots Program and construct or renovate playgrounds for area children. Many also donate portions of the proceeds from their Parades of Homes directly to charitable organizations in their communities. In fact, the 6,500-plus members of WBA and their local associations do so many good works across the state that it’s impossible in the space allotted for this article to list any more than a fraction of them.
So, however you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day today, be sure to think fondly of
Wisconsin’s homebuilders, because they truly have heart.
Christine Schwanke is the director of communications for the Wisconsin Builders Association and can be reached at email@example.com or 1-800-362-9066 or by email.