While green industry companies can have beneficial effects on the environment, Brad Johnson and his team at Lawn America in Tulsa, Okla., wanted to help out in a different way. They raised money and participated in Habitat for Humanity last fall, doing work for a single mother and her daughter.
“We hear a lot about sustainability,” Johnson said. “Most of that turns toward environmental and ‘green’ issues. While that’s important, and it’s obviously a big part of what we do, it’s people who matter the most. “So our efforts are geared towards making an impact on people first and foremost in leaving our world a little better place to live, especially children and families.”
This is the second home LawnAmerica has built, the first being in 2008. The most recent one was a three-bedroom, two-bath home constructed every Saturday for 12 weeks during the fall of 2012. Johnson said some of the work is contracted out to professionals, such as the foundation, electric, plumbing and HVAC, but much of the work was done by volunteers.
“There were 10-25 volunteers on site swinging hammers, cutting wood, painting, installing windows, painting, and all the other functions of building a home,” Johnson said.
LawnAmerica employees were out every week, some more often than others, and sometimes bringing family members. There were also other groups who came out to work with us towards constructing the home.”
Even the mother and daughter chipped in on the project. “They were out working side by side with us every Saturday,” he said. “They are chosen from applicants to be the recipient of a Habitat home, and are required to put ‘sweat equity’ into it, in addition to paying on the low-interest mortgage. They were a delight to work with.”
Johnson said LawnAmerica provided most of the $65,000 required to fund a home, which took a big portion of the company’s contributions budget. “We don’t do it to make a splash or to impress anyone,” he said. “That should not be the motive. The motive has to be pure. However, we find that being recognized in the community as being generous, giving and caring helps build our LawnAmerica brand in the marketplace.
“People like to do business with good, caring, honest people, so our charitable activities help to drive people to our business, as customers or as employees. So we don’t give in order to receive more business, but if it comes, we’ll take it.”