The NWFA has established multiple relationships over the years with charitable organizations that represent long-term commitments to initiatives benefiting each organization. These collaborations provide NWFA and its members with opportunities to engage in service in their communities, helping those in need, while promoting the benefits and uses of wood flooring, and their businesses. Seeing the impact of these relationships firsthand makes me proud to be NWFA’s Chairman.
One of NWFA’s national partnerships is with the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF). GSF provides wounded veterans and their families with the resources necessary to overcome their new life challenges. NWFA has partnered with GSF to provide wood flooring and installation services for custom-build smart homes through the GSF R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program. To date, 53 NWFA member companies have donated product, logistics, and installation services in locations throughout the U.S., with a total value of more than $3.52 million. To learn more about the program, and how you can get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NWFA Education & Research Foundation (NERF) Scholarship Program is another. NERF provides scholarships to help educate future generations of wood flooring professionals. Thanks to the generosity of our members, NWFA awarded more than $6,250 in 2016 and $10,000 in 2017. At the upcoming NWFA Wood Flooring Expo in Tampa, attendees can purchase a raffle ticket benefiting NERF and be entered into a drawing for a Lägler TRIO plus 10 Premium Sanding Technology (PST®) trainings, which were donated by Lägler. What a great way to help your industry and help your business!
A third relationship, and one that is close to my heart, involves The Little Bit Foundation. About three years ago, I heard that the NWFA had been supporting Little Bit, a group that serves the needs of disadvantaged children in St. Louis area public schools. So I decided to learn more, did some research, and was so moved that I immediately donated 100 personal hygiene kits and blankets. I went online to Amazon and arranged the purchase, with the intention of visiting soon.
In October 2017, I finally went to visit Little Bit and joined them as they distributed much-needed items to students in one of the 30 plus schools they serve. Little Bit and their team of volunteers provide school uniforms, school supplies, books, new coats, new shoes, new socks, new underwear, play clothes, toiletries, and food for these children and their families, at no cost. Why? Because no child should have to go without a toothbrush, or be forced to wear shoes that are worn through the soles or three sizes too small. I witnessed both of these situations, and was overwhelmed that these students were still smiling and eager to learn.
You see, I believe no gesture to help others is too small. Every year, Little Bit distributes more than 30,000 pairs of socks to more than 7,000 underprivileged children in the St. Louis area. Socks are one of the foundation’s most-requested items, and we have the opportunity to help fulfill that need through our partnership. So as you pack your suitcase to head to Expo, I encourage you to bring a package or two of children’s socks and drop them off at the NWFA booth. Plus, you also can further help by donating your Expo hotel toiletries, a small gesture that can make a big impact. Bins will be available on site. Remember, a little bit goes a long way!