By Craig Mullet
Most of us in the building products business are sticklers about quality. At ProVia, quality is one of our core values, and an area where we never compromise. But we live in an imperfect world, and things sometimes happen during the ordering or production process that prevents a product from being sold. However, the product is often in perfectly good working condition and it would be a shame for it to go to waste! That’s why we’re glad to be a partner with World Vision, the organization we donate to when we have reordered product.
Participating in World Vision does much more than avoid wastefulness. It’s perhaps the most useful way to manage reordered product because donations are ultimately helping children and families in need. Recently I spoke with Mary Garcia, Corporate Engagement Director for World Vision, to discuss how building products manufacturers can help fill these needs while also benefiting their own companies.
Craig: It’s possible that some of our readers aren’t familiar with World Vision, so please tell us a little bit about the organization. I notice that your slogan places an emphasis on children.
Mary: World Vision is a not-for-profit Christian humanitarian organization that operates in nearly 100 countries throughout the world with approximately 46,000 employees worldwide. We started as an international child sponsorship organization, and are now one of the largest and most respected community development and relief organizations in the world. We hire local people and work alongside communities to tackle the root causes of poverty. We focus on providing access to clean water, food security, basic healthcare, quality education, and more. It’s not a hand-out; it’s a hand-up.
Here in the U.S., World Vision has been working with community partners to improve the well-being of vulnerable children and youth since 1981.
C: The great majority of ProVia’s donations go into World Vision’s product donation program in Appalachia, West Virginia. How does this program work?
M: We work to fill basic needs that many Americans take for granted: providing families in need with essentials such as personal hygiene products, household cleaning items, clothing, and school supplies.
More costly resources such as doors, windows, flooring, and paint can help create and renovate safe, affordable housing in distressed neighborhoods. We receive donations from many building products manufacturers who send us plumbing materials, drywall, shingles… you name it. World Vision distributes building materials to individuals and partner organizations benefiting children and families in need and impacting local communities.
C: Are you also involved in disaster relief?
M: When a disaster happens we adopt a first-in, last-out approach. Our local staff are on the ground to provide immediate aid, including clean water, emergency food, hygiene kits, tarps, and more depending on the needs of the community. Then, we work alongside the community to rebuild.
In May 2013, a deadly twister struck near Oklahoma City. With wind speeds of over 200 mph, the tornado exceeded every world wind record except one: the more than 300-mph reading measured during the Moore, OK, tornado in 1999. During the storm, James and Michelle Hoke and their two children waited in an underground shelter. When the family emerged from the shelter, they found their home completely demolished and the entire neighborhood destroyed.
ProVia’s siding was one of the products donated for the rebuild of their home. When asked what these donations meant to her family, Michelle was moved to tears, explaining, “The donation of building materials gave us back hope.”
C: What should building products companies know about making donations to World Vision?
M: First, we do everything we can to make this an excellent business solution for companies. If a company is unable to deliver product to us, we’ll pick it up, at our cost. We also provide a receipt for tax purposes, provide support for corporate social responsibility programs, and ensure that any typical product warranties are waived so the transaction carries no long-term commitment. Companies appreciate this because there are complicating factors such as not being installed by a certified installation professional.
We’ve actually created a video invitation especially for building products companies! I encourage folks to watch this video because it tells the whole story of how our programs work. It’s important to realize, no one can do this job alone. But by working together we can truly change the world for the better.
C: The reason we wanted to share your story is to build awareness for your programs. There might be other companies out there that can create a win-win working with World Vision. Can they contact you for more information?
Folks are also welcome to visit our website at www.worldvision.org/corporate to learn more.
C: Thanks for all your excellent work Mary. We enjoy partnering with you and World Vision.