SUCCESS STORY | Corporate Social Responsibility

Intalere 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Provides Needed Assistance to Low-Income Families

The Challenge

On March 25, 2014, Fortune Magazine cited a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) which found that in the United States, there are just 31 affordable housing units for every 100 families who need them. In addition, the economic collapse of 2008 set off a chain reaction hitting the poorest Americans the hardest, leaving many more families homeless.

Subprime mortgages allowed some 12 million families to buy homes, but more than half of these high-risk loans were unregulated. When mortgage rates reset, foreclosures soared. Credit tightened worldwide as financial institutions struggled to stay afloat.

Cities once reporting declines in homelessness have now reported increases. The need for affordable housing is even greater amid long-term economic turmoil. Rents are rising faster than incomes for low-wage workers, and the number of home owners and renters with housing hardships has risen.

The Solution

Through the work of Habitat for Humanity (HFH), thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem – decent housing for all. Habitat’s affordable, no-profit house payments free up money for food, child care, medicine and other necessities. And research has shown that decent housing improves health, increases children’s educational achievement and strengthens community ties.

In April 2014, Intalere partnered with HFH and launched the Fresh Start: Habitat for Humanity Campaign as part of the 2014 Intalere Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The campaign was comprised of two phases: a spring fundraiser and a fall family support drive – both activities designed to highlight Intalere’s commitment to helping families break the cycle of poverty and build long-term financial security.

Phase I of the campaign began with a fundraiser in which employees donated over $1,600, and Intalere matched the employee donations 100 percent. Through this fundraiser, Intalere was able to donate a grand total of $3,400 to the national headquarters of Habitat for Humanity International in St. Americus, Ga.

Phase I also involved fundraising and volunteer activities at each corporate office. The Pittsburgh office held a flower fundraising campaign in which spring flowers were sold to employees with the proceeds donated to the
Beaver County HFH.

The Providence office donated two housewarming gift baskets to HFH West Bay Rhode Island as part of their “Penny Social” fundraiser. Each gift basket had a theme: Beach/Seashore, Fish/Seafood, and Coffee items and included gift certificates from Ocean Pride Seafood.

Salt Lake City office employees volunteered their time at the Salt Lake Valley HFH ReStore Thrift Store. Volunteers cleaned up aisles, stocked product and organized donations from Lowe’s.

A total of 25 St. Louis employees donated their time at the HFH St. Charles County building site for the Dotson and Unger families. The first group of volunteers worked on the siding and roof of the Dotson house; the second group erected walls for the Unger house. A wonderful experience was had by all in spite of the hot and humid working conditions. In addition, $200 worth of Lowe’s gift cards were donated to the HFH St. Charles County program which were used to purchase building supplies for future homes.

In the fall of 2014, Phase II, the HFH family support drive, kicked off with each corporate office providing items for their local HFH families. The Pittsburgh office donated a significant number of household items, food, Walmart gift cards, furniture, clothing and toys to their designated family – a woman and her 2-year-old grandson starting from scratch to rebuild their lives in their new HFH home. The staff totally embraced this giving opportunity and exceeded expectations in terms of the amount and variety of items donated. Direct contact was made with this family who expressed their deepest appreciation and thankfulness for the donations.

The Providence office donated grocery gift cards that were used to purchase lunch for two construction crews building homes for HFH West Bay RI. Individuals also volunteered

their time on two Saturdays in November and December to help with sanding porches and painting inside the newly built home. In addition, responding to an HFH SOS, two employees from the Providence office volunteered on a construction site over a weekend in October, proving once again the level of commitment and dedication to social responsibility of Intalere staff.

The Salt Lake City office assisted a 52-year-old woman and her 92-year-old mother get settled into their new HFH home. They purchased a variety of kitchen and household items based on the family’s wish list.

The St. Louis office put together five housewarming baskets that included items such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, jumper cables, tools, etc. for their local HFH chapter. They used their CSR budget to purchase grocery and gift cards from local vendors which were added to each basket.

In September 2014, members of the CSR committee attended HFH House Dedication Ceremonies for four families moving into new HFH homes. Housewarming baskets were presented to the families at that time.

The Outcome

The families adopted by Intalere business offices all benefitted significantly from the construction, financial and household goods donations. In most instances, the local HFH office had never received an offer from a donor company asking to assist a family once they had actually moved into their new home, as the primary mode of volunteer effort is directed to on-site construction projects only or ReStore work. One family adopted by Intalere had nothing in the way of household goods, clothing or toys for the children – they had come from a shelter prepared to ‘start from scratch’ in their new life. Their debt of gratitude was overwhelming and heartwarming for all who donated.