Building on Hope, Concord, N.H., was founded in 2010 to improve the facilities of local nonprofits by partnering with builders, architects and designers, and to serve members of the surrounding community. Warrenstreet Architects, a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) New Hampshire/Vermont Chapter, was one of five companies that founded Building on Hope, which works with the local construction industry to provide physical improvements to the nonprofit chosen for the project. 

“In a tough economy, many of these nonprofits don’t have the money to focus on their location and resources—they focus strictly on serving the people who rely on them—so we come in to help with the rest,” says Jonathan Halle, architect with Warrenstreet Architects and founder of Building on Hope.
 
The week-long build occurs in the middle of May, but preparations and volunteer hours begin long before. Planning meetings begin about five months prior and a demolition and clean-out occurs the week before construction begins. The detailed process allows the projects to be built with care and creates an overall engaging experience for the builders and volunteers involved—ultimately helping them win work down the road.

“The other effect [of Building on Hope], is the sense of community that has been formed for builders, architects and remodelers who unite around these projects,” says founder of Building on Hope Rick Broussard. “They feel ownership of the work they did; and they should.” 

For the first project, which was completed in 2010, Building on Hope chose the Krol House in Manchester, N.H., an intensive residential treatment facility for boys and teenagers facing challenges such as behavioral problems and learning disabilities. The renovation occurred in just 10 days, with more than 300 volunteers and construction companies pitching in to enlarge the kitchen, re-furnish the rooms, landscape and install a new HVAC system. The project also received a grant from the Pepsi Refresh campaign to help fund the renovations. 

The most recent project completed by Building on Hope was the 2012 renovation of Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, which helps girls succeed by providing one-on-one attention, leadership skills, enrichment programs and a caring family environment. With $400,000 worth of donations, Building on Hope brought together builders, interior designers, architects, subcontractors and other volunteers to complete the renovations. Renovations included a new air conditioning system, roofing, rooms, a computer room, a new playground and new furniture. 

“We are able to invigorate these organizations by giving them a face-lift; when perception is enhanced through their facility, it helps the organization succeed,” Halle says. “Girls Inc. was at 80 percent capacity before the renovations and now there is a waiting list.” 

Building on Hope has benefited the community in many ways, and not just with improved facilities. 

“The tangible benefits to the nonprofit organization are obvious,” says Building on Hope founder Karen Van Der Beken. “However, it is the intangible aspects that motivate me, the feelings of clients who are served by the nonprofit and the nonprofit’s employees themselves. They’ve told me ‘Building on Hope volunteers are people who care about others; these people, who I don’t even know, care about me.’” 

Building on Hope’s 2014 project currently is underway and seeking sponsors, in-kind donations and volunteers. To get involved, visit www.buildingonhope.com.