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Whirlpool supports building in its own backyard—and beyond

“As special as JCWP always is every year, it couldn’t possibly be more special than having it here, literally in our backyard,” says Ted Dosch, corporate vice president and controller for Whirlpool. Benton Harbor, in addition to being a host city for this year’s JCWP, is also home to Whirlpool’s international headquarters. This locale and Whirlpool’s event-wide sponsorship reflect the growth of the partnership between the corporation and Habitat for Humanity.

Kevin Steinke, a Whirlpool employee from Stevensville, Mich., works on the roof of a Habitat house in Benton Harbor. Steinke is among 270 Whirlpool volunteers building during the Jimmy Carter Work Project.

In its support for the project, Whirlpool chose to focus on house sponsorships to allow as many employees as possible to volunteer during JCWP 2005. Whirlpool employees were selected by peer nomination based on Whirlpool’s values of respect, integrity, teamwork, and diversity and inclusion. “The people we have here truly embody Whirlpool’s values,” says Jeff Terry, Habitat for Humanity senior program manager for Whirlpool.

This week, 270 Whirlpool employees from 19 countries are volunteering their time for JCWP building. Terry remarks, “This JCWP provides an opportunity for our employees to come together and experience the diversity and inclusion of the Whirlpool family firsthand.”

Anna Nojszewska, a communications manager for Whirlpool in Wroclaw, Poland, says, “This is something really extraordinary, to meet people from the same company that work all over the world.”

The active involvement of Whirlpool employees reflects their strong relationship with Habitat. Dosch says, “We originally entered into a financial commitment to Habitat. It quickly evolved into a partnership between Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity.”

Nojszewska agrees, “When you work on a house and see the results, you feel a part of the relationship between Whirlpool and Habitat.”

Whirlpool employees now volunteer with Habitat in communities around the world—building, serving on affiliate committees and in many other ways—and Whirlpool now supports Habitat building in 17 countries, through a combination of product donation and financial support, depending on what local affiliates consider appropriate. “It’s been so meaningful to see the partnership grow in these ways,” comments Dosch, who serves on Habitat’s international board of directors and is executive sponsor of Whirlpool’s relationship with Habitat.

Terry observes, “This JCWP is by far the biggest thing Whirlpool’s ever done in a single project.” Whirlpool is sponsoring six homes in Benton Harbor, two houses in Detroit, one in Kalamazoo and one in Windsor, Ontario. As part of its sustaining support both for its hometown and Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool is also sponsoring six more Habitat homes that will be built in Benton Harbor next year.

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