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Whirlpool Contributes to Habitat Projects with Pride, Passion and Performance

 

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Guisseppe Perucchetti, VP Brand Marketing, Whirlpool Europe, working hard on a new Habitat home.

   
 

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Maria Kirilenko and Agnes Szavay helping deliver Whirlpool appliances for use in new Habitat for Humanity homes.

   
   
 

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Homeowner happily hugging two Whirlpool volunteers.

   
   
 

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Whirlpool volunteers in Poland.

   
   
 

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Women volunteers from Whirlpool working on a home for a single mother in Portugal.

   
   
 

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Whirlpool volunteers with the homeowner family in Poland.

   
   
 

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Volunteers working hard in Poland.

   

Nearly 10 years ago, Whirlpool began its work with Habitat for Humanity by donating a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat home in North America. The partnership expanded to Europe and Central Asia in 2004, when Whirlpool Europe began donating cash, products, time, and even public relations support to Habitat for Humanity in the region.

With 14,000 employees, a sales presence in over 30 European countries and manufacturing sites in seven countries, Whirlpool Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Whirlpool Corporation. The world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, the Whirlpool Corporation has annual sales of approximately $19 billion, around 73,000 employees, and 72 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Whirlpool’s European Operations’ Center is located in Comerio (VA), Italy.

Product and Cash Donations

Low-income families who benefit from Habitat for Humanity’s affordable home projects are hard-working, dedicated individuals who aspire to the same modern, daily life conveniences that many of us take for granted. Because of Whirlpool Europe’s generosity through a product donation program, hundreds of households in Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and Romania now have new appliances that make their homes more comfortable. By the end of 2008, Whirlpool had donated almost 850 appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

For households where product donations are not possible, Whirlpool Europe’s cash donations to Habitat for Humanity have contributed to new home construction and desperately needed home renovations and repairs for almost 5,000 families in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Macedonia by the end of 2008. Whirlpool will continue its support at the same level through 2009.

Whirlpool Employees Engage in Life-Changing Volunteer Builds

Whirlpool Europe has also inspired more than 450 of its employees to participate in Habitat for Humanity volunteer build projects over the years.

“This type of activity is great! It gets you involved in something important and allows you to contribute in a meaningful way,” said one Whirlpool employee after working on the construction of an apartment complex for six families in Warsaw, Poland, in August 2008. “Meeting the families and understanding their tough conditions makes you humble and respectful. I leave this event happy and proud that I had the chance to participate.”

A team of 48 Whirlpool Europe employees from 11 different countries returned to Warsaw a month later to continue work on the same multi-family complex. The employees were able to meet, talk and work with the future homeowners, resulting in a life changing experience for all. In 2009, up to 100 Whirlpool employees are traveling to locations such as Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland for other home-construction projects.

Habitat gets Visibility Boost With “Aces for Homes” Project

Whirlpool Europe’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity includes support for the development and growth of Habitat programs throughout all of Europe, and building public awareness is sometimes just as important as building homes to achieve this goal.

An excellent example of this type of support evolved when Whirlpool introduced Habitat for Humanity to the high-profile Women’s Tennis Association (Sony Ericsson WTA Tour). Habitat for Humanity International became the WTA Tour’s official European social cause, launching the “Aces for Homes” program in 2005. For every ace hit by a WTA player throughout the season, Whirlpool and WTA donated €10 towards rebuilding 45 homes in tsunami-affected India and since 2007 towards Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Women Builds’ in Europe, designed to specifically recruit, train and empower women to build housing for female-led families. Through this program 49 new homes have been built for vulnerable single mothers in 9 countries.

This innovative initiative has succeeded in bringing women of all backgrounds together for the common cause of empowering women in need, helping them to break through traditional roles and providing them with equal opportunities. Activities have included female-only volunteer builds where Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players joined forces with female Whirlpool employees, WTA tour members, female community volunteers and project beneficiaries in making repairs to dilapidated homes.

One community volunteer from Romania, Nicoleta, worked 300 hours on Habitat homes for others before being selected herself to receive Habitat’s help building a bathroom in the small apartment she shares with her two daughters. Commenting on her experience as participant in and a beneficiary of the Aces for Homes program, Nicoleta said, “Here, strong relationships may be tied. I have always felt pleasure in going to the Habitat sites, although I did not think even for a second that I would be selected. We were glad that we nailed a nail or gave a helping hand to somebody.”

The Aces for Homes program raised €105,450 in 2008 alone to help 20 female-headed households, and the publicity Habitat has received from this partnership has been invaluable. Total earnings from the innovative “Aces for Homes” program now exceed €372,000.

The Whirlpool Europe partnership with Habitat for Humanity embodies the spirit and values of the Whirlpool Corporation. It is about inspiring employees, trade partners and consumers to build lives through the unforgettable life-enriching experiences that Habitat for Humanity offers.