AWCI CARES Impact Report

Annemarie Selvitelli / October 2015

We are excited to share with you our impact report highlighting information about AWCI CARES.

Since AWCI CARES began in 2005, the program has distributed more than $150,000 to grant recipients.

History
AWCI CARES (Caring Action Relief in Emergency Situations) was founded in the fall of 2005, but the idea for the program started taking shape earlier that year at a January meeting of the wives of the members of the AWCI Executive Committee. The women came up with the idea to establish a service program, which would funded by the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, for AWCI members and their families in need.

These women, many of whom have worked in the industry and were/are current executives at AWCI member companies, prepared a plan for what was to become AWCI CARES. Terrie Miller, who at the time was affiliated with Denver Drywall Company and is married to Bruce Miller, an AWCI past president and Pinnacle Award winner, presented it to the board of the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry in March 2005.

The foundation board immediately responded with a $10,000 gift to get the program started and has continued to provide financial support to AWCI CARES ever since. The group then presented the guidelines and operational procedures to the Foundation board at the fall 2005 meeting and before the year was out, AWCI CARES had awarded its first grant: $3,775 to pay medical bills for a single mother who had worked for a member company for 18 years before being stricken with cancer.

The assistance program was created to help good people when bad things happen to them and is overseen by the foundation. AWCI CARES provides financial support to the employees and families of AWCI member companies who have experienced a major illness, accident or hardship beyond their insurance and financial capabilities.

How It Works
AWCI CARES does not provide money directly to the grant recipient in need; the money goes directly to the creditors to pay their bills. It is not intended to replace insurance or similar programs, instead it is supposed to fill the gaps those programs may leave behind.

The AWCI CARES application can be printed from the AWCI website at www.awci.org/awci-cares.shtml. Completed application forms, required supplemental documentation and the sponsor verification form must be submitted to your employer for the signature of a company owner or manager before being submitted to AWCI CARES. Your company must file the application for you.

Applications are held in strict confidence. AWCI’s foundation director receives and verifies each application. All personal information, including applicant name, company, and place of residence, as well as account numbers, invoices or other correspondence, is kept anonymous. The AWCI CARES Leadership Team is made aware only of the reasons for the grant and the requested dollar amount, and decisions are made based on the circumstances presented in the application, other pending requests and total funds available.

All applicants receive communication from AWCI’s foundation director within two weeks after the application is received. Applications are considered and processed by the committee within 30 days.

Grants have ranged in size from $500 to $8,000. The average is $3,000, but some requests are denied. At the time of writing this article AWCI CARES had received a total of 53 applications, and 47 of those received grants. Grants have been given to AWCI families in financial stress from events like an on-the-job injury, unexpected death, cancer treatments or emergency surgery.

How to Apply
An individual may submit only one application at a time. Should circumstances warrant consideration for additional support, there is a nine month waiting period between grant application submissions and a lifetime limit of two applications per individual situation.

Here is what some grant recipients had to say about AWCI CARES:

“I would like to thank you on behalf of my family for the generous donation you have bestowed upon us. I have no idea how I could have paid the outstanding medical bills without your help. You will be in our prayers for the helping hand you extended. We really do appreciate your taking the time to help us out during out time in need.”

“I want to sincerely thank the entire AWCI CARES Leadership Team and Foundation board for reaching out and helping me and my family. Your generosity is so overwhelming. We have been so blessed. Your program is a wonderful thing.”

“Your generosity to our family in our time of need is beyond words. What a wonderful organization!”

“I am very blessed I really don’t know what to say but that I am very grateful and I thank you from my heart!”

Here is what some member firm whose employees received grants had to say about AWCI CARES:

“I received my copies of your remittance for [employee]. I just want to say thank you again for all of your help! What a great blessing for [him] and his family. He appreciates it very much!”

“Thank you for the generous grant that you approved for one of our employees. Mr. X has expressed much gratitude for receiving this benefit during the time he has not been able to work due to his recent surgery. It is good to know that there is a caring fund that offers financial support to employees in their time of need.”

Your support does make a difference.

The program was started with funds donated by the foundation and although that support continues, it is now primarily funded by the foundation via corporate giving and tax-deductible contributions, such as the jewelry raffle that takes place during AWCI’s Convention. The Foundation’s annual drive campaign kicked off in August, and donors have the option to designate their donation to the AWCI CARES program. The impact that AWCI CARES has on the AWCI community would not be at all possible without the unwavering support from dedicated donors.

Watch our short video at http://awci.org/awci-cares.shtml.

For more information on AWCI CARES or to learn how you can support AWCI CARES, contact awci-cares@awci.org.

Annemarie Selvitelli is AWCI’s director of education and foundation programs. She can be reached at selvitelli@awci.org.