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Giving Back

November 27, 2016

Above: Daigo Ishiyama (right), director of product design for the SATO business unit, interviewed a villager in Bangladesh, along with a representative from the International Development Enterprises. American Standard conducted a fact-finding trip to Bangladesh in 2012, with the goal of developing a low-cost toilet system for developing world countries.

With the turkey cut and the pie eaten, the holiday season has officially begun, and the kitchen and bath industry is already one step ahead in spreading good cheer. Recently, several manufacturers and firms have teamed up with charities to give back to the community. KBB spoke with these industry players to find out more about their experience.

Manufacturer: Canyon Creek
Charity: Wooden Toys for Charity
Charity Goal: Use wood cut-offs to make children’s toys and WASHED, a mobile laundry service aiding the homeless in Snohomish County, Wash.

KBB: Why were these two charities chosen?

“Several months ago, after brainstorming ideas about which types of local organizations could use our surplus cabinets and wood scraps – whether it be for educational purposes or for charity – we came up with a list of schools, training facilities and retirement communities. The Emerald Heights retirement community happily responded and has picked up multiple pallets of our wood scrap to make their toys for charity.

We also maintain an active social media presence and came across the mobile Laundromat, WASHED, project on Facebook, where they were looking for donors of cabinetry.”

KBB: Why was it important to your company to give back?

“Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. has a history of giving back to our community by supporting local youth organizations and women’s and homeless shelters through financial and cabinetry contributions. Over the years, we’ve donated cabinetry and wood scraps to a variety of organizations, because rather than see it go to waste we’d rather see it go toward helping others in our community.  Simply said, it’s the right thing to do.”

                                                                         -Cindy Draper, marketing manager for Canyon Creek

The wood pieces donated by Canyon Creek have been turned into wooden cars, airplanes, doll cradles, blocks and other toys by the community’s residents and will then be donated to local charities.

Manufacturer: LIXIL and American Standard
Charity: Flush for Good
Charity Goal: Providing low-cost alternatives to open-pit latrines

KBB: What is Flush for Good and SATO?

“American Standard participated in the first Reinvent the Toilet Fair sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012, challenged to address the fact that approximately 40 percent of the world’s population lacks proper sanitation facilities. This leads to 2,000 deaths per day, mostly from children under the age of five. Through a grant awarded from the Gates Foundation in 2012, American Standard invented a safe, affordable latrine for the developing world that did not require a water and sewer infrastructure. The first SATO hygienic toilet pan was designed to meet customer needs specifically in Bangladesh, with a simple mechanical water seal to reduce disease transmission by closing off pit latrines from the open air.

With the American Standard Flush for Good program, we donated one SATO sanitary toilet pan for every American Standard Champion toilet sold in North America in 2013 and 2014. Our non-governmental organization (NGO) partners around the globe then helped to get these pans into the homes of the neediest residents. Currently, more than one million SATO pans are in use in over 14 countries, starting with Bangladesh and now including the Philippines, India, Uganda, Kenya and Haiti.”

KBB: What are practical ways other industry members could give back?

“First, identify an area where their own business has the expertise to craft viable solutions to resolve a problem or meet a need, whether it is local, national or global. Next, develop a sustainable business model that will ensure ongoing usage of the product or program. This includes incorporating local customs and lifestyles when designing a solution, making the solution affordable and easy to maintain.

There are also numerous NGOs already on the ground in developing regions of the world, and they can be a valuable resource in researching and executing successful programs. Raising awareness of an issue with your customer base and designing a method for them to help the cause can also be a win-win all around.”

                       – Jim McHale, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of LIXIL’s SATO business unit

Manufacturer: Devore & Johnson
Charity: Adopt-A-Platoon
Charity Goal: Funds collected from employees, customers, friends and family go toward sending care packages to deployed troops

KBB: Why was this campaign chosen?

“We chose this campaign as it is one that is close to us – one of DeVore & Johnson’s founders, T.C. DeVore, was a World War II veteran and Silver Star recipient. He died on Veterans Day in 2011, which was only fitting as he had the utmost respect for all military and veterans. He always comes to mind, but especially this time of year. Both our employees and customers happily jumped on board with this operation; we wanted to give back to those that give so much.”

KBB: How would you encourage other manufacturers to give back?

“We would encourage other manufacturers to give back by finding a cause that speaks to them. Find one employees can rally behind! This was our first time doing anything like this, and we almost tripled our original goal – mostly due to the energy and attention our employees and customers put into each care package. It was a great success, and we are already thinking about our plans for next year!”

Mike DeVore, president of Devore & Johnson

Charlie Holt, Scott White, Lorraine Stephens and Mike DeVore of Devore & Johnson

Manufacturer: LG Electronics USA
Charity: Rebuilding Together
Charity Goal: To provide energy-efficient updates and much-needed appliances in the Hollygrove Dixon neighborhood of New Orleans

KBB: Why is it important to your company to do volunteer work?

“We believe that part of being a corporation is helping the less fortunate. There are many opportunities for companies, especially in the case for providing products. The key is finding the right organization to partner with.”

KBB: What was your favorite part of the experience?

“The most gratifying thing about volunteering with Rebuilding Together was getting to know the people. They’ve lived in these homes for 50 years, but 11 years after Hurricane Katrina they are still suffering in damaged homes. One gentleman I met was in his 90s, and his energy bills were ridiculously high. With energy-saving appliances, we helped save him a lot of money and get him back on track.”

                                – John Taylor, vice president of public affairs for LG Electronics USA

Sears/Rebuilding Together's ENERGY STAR Change the World Campaign. The community service project took place in the Hollygrove-Dixon neighborhood in New Orleans, where three homes received home upgrades and appliances donated by ENERGY STAR Partners. October 24, 2016.

Together with corporate and community partners like Sears and LG, Rebuilding Together transforms the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing our communities. Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide each year.