Pictured: Ellie Karas, CR ReStore Manager; Pat McKenna, Executive Director; Tom Beshr, Resource Development
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North was honoured to receive two awards at the Habitat Annual General Meeting this year: one for Epic Engagement and the other for Social Enterprise. 2015 was a year of great growth for our affiliate and we were so pleased to be recognized by Habitat Canada for this.
What exactly did we do to deserve these awards? Here is a short excerpt from each application:
Epic Engagement Award
We had a tremendous year re-engaging our donors and partners across the whole of the enterprise. After a year where the affiliate suffered a decline in fundraising, it was decided that we would need to re-energize the mission, put on our thinking caps, and reinvent ourselves.
2015 started with a major fundraiser called Dancing under the Stars. This major event that entertained our donors with a live band and a fabulous dinner, and generated significant revenue.
Following up on the success of Dancing under the Stars, the whole affiliate team felt excited to try another new fundraiser and thus the “She Shed” was born, a collaborative project between the affiliate and ReStore team. We are currently raffling the next evolution of the She Shed known as the “Pub Shed” (buy your tickets at the Campbell River or Courtenay ReStore now!).
The last effort of 2015 was a 50/50 raffle. We partnered with a local business to sell 50/50 tickets in the community directly supporting our families-first focus. The event was so successful that we have continued it into 2016. You can now purchase tickets at either of our ReStores.
Thanks to these innovative ideas, 2015 saw a growth of 266% in fundraising revenue. The success of 2015 has allowed us to believe in ourselves again and set an even higher fundraising target for this year — allowing us to serve even more families.
Social Enterprise Award
We have two ReStores – one in Courtenay and one in Campbell River. Despite the geographic distance, our team works hard to foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation between the retail locations.
Increased competition in the marketplace combined with decreased revenue from our recycling program, due to market changes beyond our control, had the potential to have a negative impact on ReStore revenues. Additionally, both stores were poorly laid out and in need of a facelift.
These needs, combined with an unexpected but welcome gift of nearly-new shelving, lead us to conceive the ‘ReBrand Hope in the Restore Project.’ We decided to ‘rebrand’ the red header panels on the shelves, to both make them brand-compliant and to celebrate Habitat’s mission of ‘Building Homes. Building Hope.’ We put out a call to local artists, inviting them to participate in the transformation of these panels by painting their interpretation of what ‘building community’ means to them.
More than 60 artists volunteered to pour their hearts, souls, and creative talent into creating 75 visual works of art for our ReStores. This included highly acclaimed professionals, as well as budding artists of all ages. Our youngest artist was seven-years-old.
On December 2, 2015, we hosted a ReBrand Hope Art Opening Gala in our Courtenay location in an effort to celebrate the community collaboration and to relaunch our ReStore. An Art Curator volunteered his time to help us hang the panels. For the gala we were joined by a local cheese maker, owners of an award-winning winery, and a musician.
We received plenty of positive feedback, and, despite the economic downturn and new competitors, sales in both of our ReStores increased by 15% by the end of December and continue to rise.
This project epitomized Habitat’s core mission of mobilizing volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Our ReStores are essential to providing financial resources towards building homes.