Giving Back

With VIP Block Party, the HBA raises its brand and raises funds for charities. It’s an ‘Iowa Nice’ thing to do.

Ask members of any neighborhood that puts on a block party. Mix some good people, a lovely summer evening, a little music, and some great food and drinks, and you’ve got a good time.

That was the premise of the VIP Block Party, hosted by the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines (HBA) recently at HomeShowExpo 2018 at the Angel Park development in Clive.

“This was the first time for this event,” says Melisa Cox, head of Partnerships and Publications for the HBA. “We used this event to raise our brand of the home show within the industry and community. For years, we have had our annual members’ night the night before the home show opens. But this additional event on July 24 was for others in the community and friends of the builders. It truly was a lovely party.”

Exciting beginning

Nearly 300 attendees paid $75 per ticket, and builders designated five charities to receive donations from the group “It truly was an ‘Iowa Nice’ event,” Cox says. “We wanted to use the home show for the impetus to do some good.” The six new houses in this year’s home show were open for touring.

Those attending were treated to food, drinks, and live entertainment in the form of local country star Nick Wallace and Brit Stokes, a Nashville, Tennessee, country performer.

Adam Grubb of Jerry’s Homes, developer of this year’s home show, says, “We talked about raising the leverage of this year’s home show in some way. The block party developed as a way to provide a fun opportunity for guests and to raise money for charities. In this business, we build communities, so it only seems fitting that we give back to the greater community.” He gives credit to Cox and Dan Knoup, executive officer of the HBA, as well as to Amy Hays of Liberty National Bank for making the event happen.

Charitable donations

Charities benefitting from the event include:

Each charity will receive $1,500 from the event.

“We are very touched that Unique Homes chose our program as its designated charity from the VIP Block Party,” says Lori Willis of the Iowa Wave T-shirt Program. The program, which began nearly a year ago, focuses on the fans in Kinnick Stadium at the U of I waving to young patients at the hospital between the first and second quarters of home football games.

After the wave took hold, Willis, Brooke Mickelson, and Meighan Phillips, all of the Des Moines area, had the idea to sell wave T-shirts, with proceeds going to the children’s hospital. The simple gesture and the sale of shirts resulted in a donation of $440,000 last year, Willis says. This year’s goal is $1 million.

In addition, all three state universities are cooperating in the program, and Hy-Vee and Von Maur have ordered shirts in the school colors of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. “It truly has become a statewide program,” Willis points out.