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Longtime supporter Dow builds in Michigan, commits to tsunami response

“It’s not often you have a cause that touches employees all over the world,” says Anne Ainsworh, media relations leader for Dow Chemical Company. Its comprehensive partnership with Habitat includes financial support, gifts-in-kind of Dow building products, employee volunteerism and customer engagement through building.

“That’s why, 20 years later, we’re still involved with Habitat. JCWP is just another example of that partnership,” explains Sarah Opperman, global vice president for public affairs at Dow.

Volunteers from Dow install donated insulation board on a Habitat house in Detroit during the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project.

The fact that this year’s JCWP is in Michigan, which is home to Dow’s international headquarters, continues a natural confluence between Dow and Habitat that began in the 1980s and has been growing ever since. Dow is sponsoring homes in Detroit, Bay City, Saginaw and its birthplace and hometown of Midland, Mich., with nearly 400 Dow employees volunteering to build homes.

The cornerstone of Dow’s relationship with Habitat is its donation of STYROFOAM insulation. Since the 1980s, Dow has donated more than 13 million board feet to insulate more than 10,000 homes in North America. Since that time, Dow has expanded this gift-in-kind to more than 15 countries where Habitat builds and makes its insulation available free of charge to all Habitat affiliates in North America. Dow is providing building materials for all JCWP houses in the host cities of Benton Harbor and Detroit.

Yesterday, Dow also announced a $700,000 commitment to Habitat for long-term tsunami reconstruction. This support will build 50 homes in each of the tsunami-affected countries of India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It will also fund Disaster Response Technical Centers in India and Indonesia, which will create building materials such as bricks and doors, as well as provide work opportunities for members of the community.

Dow’s mission is to improve what is essential to human progress. Because of this, Opperman observes, Habitat’s focus on housing and mission to eliminate substandard housing, “ties in perfectly with Dow’s mission.”

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