Charity Begins at Home – at The Home Depot

There’s quite a lot going on around the world – now and every day – that makes me pause and remember how fortunate I am to have a healthy family, live in a warm house and have a good job.  If you do a quick scan of the newspaper, and really think about what the reports are telling us about the lives other people are living – think about them in not in terms of numbers, but in terms of individuals with families, friends and emotions – it can get overwhelming fairly quickly.   All of this sounds cliche, I realize, but if you come at it rationally, you might come to the conclusion that whatever you do is never going to be enough.

Another way to come at it, as many have done for centuries, is to take care of your own first.  Often that means your family.  I think in many ways that makes good sense – a family takes care of itself and then doesn’t need to look outside for help.  You also know your family, so perhaps you are better able to see what will be most helpful to them.  At The Home Depot, that’s exactly what we do.  And we have a lot of people in our family, about 300,000 in fact.

Because we are so big, we had to create a structure for our home-grown charity, and we call it The Homer Fund after the company’s mascot, Homer (you may remember him – overalls and baseball cap with a big nose).  The Fund is an amazing demonstration of how a company’s values, such as providing outstanding customer service and giving back to our communities,  can remain core to its culture, even as it grows at an astounding rate.  Our core values include taking care of our associates, which means taking care of our family.

The Homer Fund provides emergency assistance to our associates when they need it – when they can’t pay their basic living expenses because of an unforeseen situation, like an illness or accident or a natural disaster.  Grants from the Fund provide a bridge for our associates to help them get over the rough spots they encounter.  To help illustrate what we do, imagine an associate’s husband or child becomes sick, she misses work, meaning she misses her paycheck, and has to pay for the doctor and prescriptions.  Maybe she also has to pay to eat and park at the hospital for a few days.   It can all snowball very quickly, and it’s not unusual for her to find that her rent money has been eaten up by these unexpected bills when the first of the month comes round.  That’s where the Fund can step in and help her get caught up on her bills and relieve the financial stress so she can focus on her family.  On top of that, if her co-workers pass the hat to help her out, the Fund will even match the amount raised $2 for $1.  It’s an amazing program – one that helped more than 7,300 associates and their families in 2009, with grants of $11.1 million.  Each one of the 35,000 associates who has been helped by the Fund since 1999 has a story – a very personal, often heartbreaking story – and because of the Fund, many of those stories had a far happier ending than they otherwise would have.

But that’s not the really cool thing.  The really cool – almost unbelievable fact – is that the Fund is a charity supported exclusively by associates of The Home Depot (The Home Depot Foundation contributes to the Fund by matching donations made by associates).  Fully 64%  – that’s 180,000 individuals – contribute to The Homer Fund.  They support it because they can see the difference it has made in the lives of their co-workers – their friends.  They understand the situations their friends are facing and know that a little help at the right moment will go a very long way.  The power of the Fund isn’t in large contributions or huge grants amounts, but in everyone coming together to give what they can to take care of each other.   Most are giving a dollar or two out of their paycheck every two weeks.  Some of them can’t afford more than that, but that’s what you do to help family.

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9 Responses to “Charity Begins at Home – at The Home Depot”

  1. Jennifer Meehan says:

    Hi,

    My name is Jennifer Meehan. I am planning a day at my son’s elementary school that is dedicated to not only introducing children to special interests, such as woodworking, but to plant the seed of giving to help make the world a better place. We are centering the day around gathering pennies to donate to “pennies for peace”, an organization that helps pay for children in other countries to go to school. We are looking for a very generous corporation such as yourself to help students create piggy banks so that they can save money at home to donate on their own well after this project is done.

    Please let me know if you can help in any way. We are located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, just miles from your Grafton store. Any help would be so welcome in introducing charitable acts of kindness to these children.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer Meehan

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  3. David West says:

    FUNDRAISER FOR VICTIMS OF THE POWERHOUSE FIRE

    We are currently reaching out to corporations and local businesses for donations of goods and/or services. Donations will be used for a silent auction and raffles. In addition we will be doing a 50/50 raffle. BeX is also pledging a portion of the proceeds from restaurant sales.

    Proceeds will go to Sertoma to benefit the fire victims and a percentage will also go to Painted Turtle. Tax id available for contribution upon request. The City of Lancaster CA has sanctioned this event and will be doing a press release and High Dessert Broadcasting is running public service announcements up until the day of the event.

    “The barn burned down” so to speak and we need some help to rebuild it. Please let us know if you are able to participate. Donations will be accepted up until 7pm June 28th. If you are able to participate please email us at my email: westworkslive@yahoo.com.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  4. Rebecca says:

    There is a foundation I recently leaned About called the Rolling Dog Project that makes free wheel chairs for paralized dogs using pvc piping and lawn mower wheels. They ask for donations in the form of home depot gift cards. I think this is a worthwhile charity.

  5. Dear Sirs:
    We are losing a wonderful family in our church ( Nutrioso Bible Church-Nutrioso AZ.) to Denver CO. But they need help from their localhome depot. The home they are purchasing needs a new kitchen and lots of repair work on this house, it’s a fixer upper, we think it was rented and was not well maintained, especially in the basement unfinished.
    Brian is going to be affiliated with a church their in Denver. So he is new to to that area, they used to run a camp in
    Colorado before, but there are no jobs here in Nutrioso, which he needs for his family to survive. We know they the house is lcated in a a good neighborhood, but the house is sadly in need of repair. i know they have the funds to repair it. He needs to start his new job in April, but the home is not very liveable. Is there anyway that Home Depot can help this family, like with their “Helping Hands Program,
    or any other program thru Home Depot. Our church would help but it like 10 to 12 hour trip for us. Is there any
    help for this family. I will write and ask for help for this family, he can do some of the work, but some it might be beyond what he is capable of doing. He will make a modest income from the church they will be working with and he also does missionary work with kids at camp during the summer. So he is a very active man along with his family, so
    how much time he has to work along side to do the repair work he needs will be up to his schedule and very
    little money to even begin with what is needed. Any assistance you can give would be very helpful.
    Please help them. Elizabeth Frazier from Nutrioso BIble Chruch

  6. Sorry I meant to say they don’t have the fund to repair this home!
    Elizabeth Frazier

  7. Lisa Walsh says:

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for reaching out. Our focus is addressing the housing needs of US veterans. If someone in this family is a veteran, please reach out to us at HD_Foundation@homedepot.com and we’ll do what we can do help.

  8. David.S says:

    I am a HomeDepot employee,been at it for a few years and like my job especially when i was the Lead Generator for my store,meeting people and making them happy .I recently had a tree fell in my backyard damaging part of my house.my roof started leaking,i dont have the funds to repair my home at this time i put a lot into rthis. home,when i bought this home it was in a mess.major repairs was needed,i spent a lot of time and money in the last 12 years.i know we help a lot of veterans,and i think it is a great idea,but what about one of your own,my grandpa used to say charity begins at home.I am a bit ashamed to ask anyone for help and thought this might be a good way to get my message to a lot of people.

  9. denise says:

    I am representing leeds grenville mental health we are having a silent auction dec. 11 and we are looking for donations if interested please let me know

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