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Morning Edition

Building On Hope Wants To Give One N.H. Nonprofit An 'Extreme Makeover'

Building On Hope

New Hampshire nonprofits have the chance for an extreme makeover.

Building On Hope is accepting applications through the end of January to choose its next major renovation project.

The volunteer organization relies on donations from builders, architects, designers and suppliers, and has completed $800,000 in renovations for New Hampshire nonprofits over the past six years.

Jonathan Halle from Building On Hope recently joined Rick Ganley to talk about what he’s looking for to help choose the next project.

Let’s begin by explaining what Building On Hope is.

Building On Hope is an organization that was started in 2009 by a small group of individuals that have come together to help and support the nonprofit sector with capital improvements.

What are some of the organizations Building On Hope has worked with?

The first project was the Krol House with Easter Seals. The second project in 2012 was for Girls Inc. on the west side of Manchester. And then this past spring, May of 2014, we helped an organization called Opportunity Networks in Amherst/Nashua.

The Girls Inc. was a renovation of a church building they had owned for about 10 years. All of these nonprofits operate on a shoestring. They provide wonderful services, but they don’t have money to reinvest in the infrastructure they have. That’s where this is life-changing for them. At Girls Inc., they had a kitchen, it was a soup kitchen as well, in the evening for most of the families of the kids that attended there during the day. We did classroom space, a library, a playground in the back yard, we reroofed the building. Just an amazing transformation.

It blows people away in terms of the amount of outreach and the amount of response that we get from contractors and subs and the whole construction industry.

How does Building On Hope solicit material donations and recruit volunteers?

It is entirely relationship based. It’s me picking up the phone and saying I need help. So we’ve done three projects. Most of the large general contractors in the state have at one point or another stepped up. We start about six months prior to the build – May is the month we talk about doing it and we do it every other year. We’ll start with the original ten and by the time we get to May, there’s 250 people in the room for an hour every Friday morning. It just builds on momentum.

I’d imagine it’s been building with each project, too.

The issue we’re here to talk about this morning is the next project. We’re actually in the throes of trying to find that next project.

I’m guessing there is significant need and many nonprofits seek renovations. What are the criteria for selecting a project?

In the past, we’ve done applications and we’ve look to what kind of board structure do they have and whether they have the resources to support this and that was a very daunting task for them to put together. So what we’re doing this year is we’re asking the nonprofits to write a letter from their heart to explain what the difference would be if Building On Hope came in and transformed their physical accommodations.

I imagine it’s a big catalyst for the organization itself when they have this refreshed facility, it must kind of a renewal of energy in the organization.

Oh, absolutely. It’s just been transforming altogether.

So how can a nonprofit group get in touch with you?

The best way is through the website. We’re looking for a letter that speaks from the heart in terms of what it would mean to you if Building On Hope came in and did this for you.

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