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The Story of Contractors Who Care

June 13, 2011 by Jeff Forrest

I was never shy when it came to asking my friends, colleagues, vendors and clients for contributions to whatever cause I was raising money for. I wouldn’t ask very often, but I always felt the causes were worth every effort when I did ask.  Yet in the back of my head, I knew more could be accomplished if I was able to reach a greater number of people. The idea was simple; it’s easier to ask 100 people for $100 dollars than to find 10 people to contribute $1,000. The key was reaching these100 people.

When my father died in 1997, I thought it would be honorable to create a scholarship in his name for a student interested in the construction industry. In order to make that happen, I’d have to connect to another 100 people. This only meant one thing; I needed to reach more people.

WPC regularly donates to worthy causes. At our peak when the economy was flourishing, we donated tens of thousands of dollars annually to various organizations. When the economy changed and we were forced to reduce our spending, I realized that it would take a collaborated effort in order to help those organizations in a time when they needed it most. One hundred people would no longer be enough. I would need to multiply the number of people I was connecting to. The only place I knew to turn was within my own industry. One with hundreds of thousands of companies, vendors and networked contacts, the construction industry was the answer. If I could reach out to a large portion of those people and get them to donate, on average, $100 each, then we could raise millions of dollars for worthy causes.

Having had the idea in my head for at least ten years and having talked about it with friends and family for several years, the time had come to act. I presented the idea to my Harvard classmates in May of 2011 and received the advice, feedback and encouragement I needed to move forward.

The question was how to galvanize such a large group of people behind the idea. How would I convince them that we needed to do this? I realized that the answer is in our DNA. It is our instinct to help people. Caring is part of who we are as humans beings. With that, I knew I needed to ask our industry to care, thus Contractors Who Care (CWC) was born.

The next step was to cultivate a message with purpose and intent so that people would feel compelled to be involved with CWC. First and foremost, our goal is to give 100% of funds raised, back to our communities. Giving back to the communities in which we work, live and play is the cornerstone of this organization. We need to impact people that we see everyday and we want them to know we care.

Initially, there are at least two areas where funds will be distributed:

    • Charitable Organizations:
      • Applications from people and charitable organizations requesting contributions will be accepted via the CWC web site, Those applications will be thoroughly screened to ensure their needs. The board will then vote on which ones will receive the funds raised during the calendar year.
    • College Scholarship
      • Funds will go towards scholarships named after my father, D.E. “Jim” Forrest. Applicants for the scholarship will be screened based on economic need as well as their desire to make a difference in our industry.
  • As the organization grows, we will revisit each of these to ensure we are making a difference in the right areas and adjust the way funds are distributed to make the greatest impact.

    Contributors will be considered Members of Contractors Who Care. Membership is considered a Badge of Honor that allows companies to display the CWC logo with pride on their websites, marketing propaganda and job sites. Brand recognition would be enhanced for both CWC and the Members.  Our industry will have a universally recognized symbol of caring that we can all be proud of.

    We will hold industry fundraisers allowing us to come together to increase awareness of the organization, to distribute funds to the selected charities and award the scholarship winners. The vision is that Contractors Who Care will grow to a national and, potentially, international level and caring will become synonymous with our industry.

    As I tell the story of Contractors Who Care to anyone who’ll listen, I receive resounding approval and anticipation from people inside and outside our industry. The idea has now become reality. I know together we will make a difference.

    This is just the beginning of the story and I look forward to having you help me tell more of it as time progresses. Today, I ask you to care by staying tuned as the story of Contractors Who Care unfolds.

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