Undeterred by Downturn, Builder Finds Way to Give Back
The housing downturn was not going to deter Sam Bradley, CGR, GMB, CGP, of Sam Bradley Homes, from his mission. The Springfield, Mo. custom home builder and remodeler was determined to build this year’s St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway for his local association.
Sam Bradley, CGR, GMB, CGP, said the timing was "perfect" for him to give back to the community.
The French Country-style home with 2,500 square feet of finished space that is nearing completion in the Lion’s Gate community south of Springfield is the third Dream Home that the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield has built to help raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Created in 1991, the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway is the largest single, nationwide fundraiser for the hospital — known internationally for its work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
“I have always believed in giving back to your community,” said Bradley, “and building the St. Jude Dream Home was a natural fit for me.”
“This December, my wife will celebrate her 40th year of remission from a cancer that, to our knowledge, only 23 people worldwide have survived. This project is very special to me and the opportunity came along at the perfect time,” he said.
The Greater Springfield HBA home is expected to be completed on May 1. The auction will be held on Sept. 15.
“Our whole association has endorsed this project,” said Bradley. “We have suppliers and different vendors participating. It’s their way of giving back to the community.”
Through the HBA’s charitable foundation, a subcommittee chooses a builder and plans and oversees the St. Jude project each year. The subcommittee then helps guide the builder through the budget and marketing of the home, as well as helping with fundraising.
Each participant — from the subcontractors to the land developer — volunteers time, services and materials for the project. Lions Gate Development donated the home site.
“When I was looking for donations and participants, I had to go beyond the scope of my normal subs to find other volunteers,” Bradley said, while noting that he was impressed with the generosity of the Springfield area building community, even in the face of the housing downturn and recession.
St. Jude was impressed as well.
“I have been amazed by the number of suppliers and trade contractors who have stepped up to the plate,” said Russ Laney of St. Jude. “When our builders agree to partner with us, we really don’t know how many vendors and suppliers are going to be able to donate.”
Because of the downturn, Bradley said many of the volunteers working on the Springfield home had to scale back from how they participated in the last two Dream Home giveaways. He said he made up for the shortfall by contacting additional people he had not worked with before, and they were more than willing to help with the project.
When Bradley needed an excavator, he contacted a new member of the HBA, someone he didn’t even know. The excavator said he would help with whatever was needed.
“It turned out that one of his family members had been treated at St. Jude. He said it was the right time for him to give back,” Bradley said.
“The funds we raise for these homes have a tremendous impact on our research,” said St. Jude’s Laney. ”Some of those people have distant or direct family members who have been treated at St. Jude, and in some way that’s their way of giving back.”
In October, Abby, who is the granddaughter of one of the volunteer suppliers and was treated for a brain tumor at St. Jude, was present for the groundbreaking on the homer. The volunteers nicknamed the home “Abby” in her honor.
The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dream Home program is active in more than 40 markets across the country. Each home built for the program has a market value of between $300,000 and $700,000. Raffle tickets for the finished homes are $100.
Since the program began 18 years ago, St. Jude has raised more than $155 million with the help of HBAs and industry professionals through the Dream Home giveaway program.