Solving Problems Kim Lachance Shandrow  | September 13, 2017

How Dow and Habitat For Humanity Build For the Greater Good

Some corporate community outreach programs start small like seeds, at the employee level. Often, they soon sprout throughout the company, inspiring others to volunteer their time, effort and care to good causes. Before long, these organic employee volunteering movements come full bloom, spurring entire organizations to take action.

Such was the case with the Dow Chemical Company and Habitat For Humanity. What originated 35 years ago as a “modest, employee-led grassroots effort,” has today blossomed into one of Dow’s most significant and far-reaching community service initiatives, as well as one of Habitat for Humanity’s largest and most productive corporate partnerships.

“The result is a legacy of not just building homes,” a statement from Dow reads, “but providing affordable sustainable houses for low-income families in communities around the globe.”

Headquartered in Midland, Mich., Dow Chemical Company is a global leader in specialty chemicals. Founded in 1897, the corporation delivers a wide variety of products and solutions in the energy, electronics, water, packaging and coatings sectors.

Launched in 1976, Habitat For Humanity International is a globally-recognized nonprofit devoted to building “simple, decent and affordable housing.” Its mission is to help ease poverty and the lack of lower-cost housing in disadvantaged communities across the world.

Together, Dow and Habitat For Humanity, and the people who power them, have helped families in 33 countries access affordable, sustainable housing. In addition to providing financial support and millions of dollars’ worth of gift-in-kind donations, throughout its three decades-long relationship with Habitat For Humanity, Dow has continually demonstrated its dedication to corporate citizenship, and to leveraging its many people, solutions and products for the greater good.

In recognition of the corporation’s legacy of assisting families in need, arm in arm with the nonprofit, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation named Dow a 2016 Best Community Improvement Program finalist as part of its recent Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards honor businesses for their significant positive impacts on communities and the people who reside in them around the world.

“Our Habitat collaboration gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the ways Dow can use the passion and talents of our people to help transform society at the intersection of sustainability, innovation and citizenship,” Rob Vallentine, director of Dow Global Citizenship and president of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, said in a statement. “We are thrilled that our partnership continues to bring value to individuals and families in our communities and around the world, and look forward to another year of collaboration with Habitat, our employees, customers and businesses to enable affordable, sustainable housing.”

Forging ahead, Dow is assisting the nonprofit with 42 projects in 19 countries this year alone. It’s also pledging more than $1.4 million in donation and supplies, such as polyurethane materials for PVC panels that double as house walls, to bolster build initiatives. Additionally, the company is enlisting more than 2,000 employees to build homes alongside those who will inhabit them.

“We are so grateful for partners like Dow,” Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford said. “Their multi-dimensional relationship with Habitat, from products to people to expertise, benefits families and communities in countless ways. Amazing things happen worldwide when partners want to make a positive difference in the lives of their employees, in the communities where they operate and serve, and around the globe.”

To learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Awards, click here.