Helping people establish and maintain quality, affordable housing has been the cornerstone of Valspar’s community efforts for more than three decades. With this clearly defined focus, our efforts are intended to have deep, lasting impact. From our first affiliation with Habitat for Humanity in the Twin Cities, to the creative range of Habitat programs we support around the world today, the dedication, generosity and ingenuity of Valspar has helped bring hope and homes to thousands of families.
In every location where we have major operations, Valspar supports initiatives to improve access to affordable housing and to help people remain in and maintain their homes despite economic or physical hardships. During the past decade, Valspar has donated nearly 2 million gallons of paints and coatings for Habitat affiliates throughout the United States, protecting homes and adding color to the lives of homeowners around the country. Our employees serve in leadership roles in Habitat affiliates and donate countless volunteer hours at local build sites.
We’ve launched creative programs and partnerships to expand our effectiveness, raise community awareness and generate additional support for Habitat and other affordable housing initiatives.
A Brush with Kindness, driven by Valspar in cooperation with Habitat, is transforming urban neighborhoods and the lives of people with low incomes, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Through this innovative revitalization program, we provide paint and help organize volunteer labor to restore home exteriors, as well as helping with minor repairs and landscaping. The program pays dividends beyond the individual household. Often, A Brush with Kindness encourages neighbors to improve their own properties and begin a positive transformation of these neighborhoods.
Begun in one Minneapolis neighborhood, A Brush with Kindness is now operating in 16 U.S. cities, with another 50 in planning phases. It now serves nearly 6,700 families annually and continues to grow rapidly. Affiliates in Australia and Canada are planning A Brush with Kindness programs, and Habitat is working with Valspar to explore ways to expand this program to all of its affiliates worldwide.
Celebrities’ handprints set in vibrant Valspar paint formed the centerpiece of the Hearts and Hands for Habitat auction to benefit the Disaster Response program of Habitat for Humanity. The program provides immediate and long-term assistance to communities devastated by house-destroying natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. East Coast and tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas.
Now in its third year, Hearts and Hands builds on Valspar’s social media presence to raise awareness and support for Habitat, as well as funds. In 2013, Valspar donated to the Disaster Response program for each set of celebrity handprints and established a Facebook sweepstakes to win a heart created by actor Josh Duhamel. Every Facebook “like” for the auction raised additional funds from Valspar to Habitat. All told, the auction raised $50,000 for disaster relief projects.
In addition to Duhamel, celebrities who donated their handprints to raise funds included: Patrick J. Adams, Kate Bosworth, Mischa Barton, Brooke Burke, Rosanne Cash, Eric Close, Marcia Cross, Fergie Duhamel, Jenna Elfman, Ethan Hawke, Genevieve Gorder, Heather Graham, Jonathan Groff, Warren Haynes, Ashley Hebert, Stacy Keibler, Minka Kelly, Jenny McCarthy, Jillian Michaels, Lea Michele, Bette Midler, Miles Redd, JP Rosenbaum, Kelly Rutherford, Susan Sarandon, Liev Schreiber, Taylor Spreitler and Naomi Watts.
In 2014, Valspar announced a $1 million gift to the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering to provide high-tech equipment for a new undergraduate laboratory. Students will begin benefitting from the new Valspar Materials Science and Engineering Lab when classes begin in fall 2014. The lab will include testing equipment that characterizes the mechanical performance of materials, electron microscopes that image at the nanoscale, and other equipment that can measure magnetic, electrical and optical properties. The University of Minnesota’s materials science and engineering program has seen tremendous growth in demand as a wide range of companies, from oil companies to computer chip manufacturers, to medical device companies, begin recognizing this emerging field as critical to their success. The alliance of Valspar with the University of Minnesota is clearly a strong match with Valspar’s strategy for science and innovation leadership in the coatings industry.
The Valspar Foundation has established a scholarship program to assist employees’ children who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs. Scholarships are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice. Up to forty (40) awards will be granted each year. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, statement of career and educational goals and objectives. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability or national origin.
In 2013, Valspar announced two new scholarship programs to provide opportunities for North Dakota State University (NDSU) students studying coatings and polymeric materials. These scholarships strengthen the pipeline of talent by supporting students to develop insights into fundamental performance drivers of coatings and polymers and providing them an experience associated with an industrial environment. Valspar and NDSU have a long history of technical collaboration. The new program supports up to five graduate student scholarships and a new program for Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. The scholarship program is administered through the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials at NDSU and coordinated through the NDSU Development Foundation. A selection committee consisting of NDSU faculty and Valspar’s technical leaders announced the first Valspar Graduate Scholars Program awards to Olena Kudina from Lviv, Ukraine; Casey Orgon from Bemidji, Minnesota; Adlina Paramarta from Java, Indonesia; Andriy Popadyuk from Lviv, Ukraine; and Alison Rohly from Lino Lakes, Minnesota.