Paints and Coatings Companies Give Service to Revitalize Communities, including Reducing Graffiti

Paints and Coatings Companies Give Service to Revitalize Communities, including Reducing Graffiti

Source: Coatings Tech, August 2015

Just as paints and coatings today do much more than protect and beautify the surfaces they cover, paint and coating manufacturers and their employees do more than make and sell paint. Through a wide array of different initiatives, events, and activities, they provide real support to local community and nationwide organizations in need. Below are highlighted a few of the recent programs completed by paint and coating manufacturers around the world. These examples are just a few representative selections of the many real contributions being made.

YOUTH FOCUS

Many of the initiatives supported by paint and coating manufacturers are designed to provide assistance to children. Rust-Oleum has partnered with Children’s Fairyland, a Northern California nonprofit organization that runs America’s first storybook theme park, and has committed to restoring one attraction per year. For its first project, the company donated the sandblasting, paints, and expertise needed to restore the toddler-sized Flecto Carousel, which Flecto Corporation (now a part of Rust-Oleum) donated in 2001. More recently, in June 2015, the company held the Rust-Oleum Championship, a PGA-sanctioned Web.com golf tournament, to benefit Cleveland Clinic Children’s—a nationally regarded children’s hospital that provides heart care, transplant services, cancer care, and more. As part of the event, 10 professional golfers and Rust-Oleum executives visited young patients and their families to provide encouragement.

Meanwhile, Nippon Paint China, in cooperation with Baosteel Group, has lent substantial support to the “Walking for Kids” program initiated by Shanghai United Foundation (SUF) to improve children’s health in poverty-stricken areas of China. Its “Color, Way of Love” project also includes painting the walls of local schools.

The Sherwin-Williams Company has partnered with local affiliates of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Canada. As part of its National Painting Week in May 2015, thousands of Sherwin-Williams employees joined forces with painting contractors to refresh hundreds of community organizations using paint and supplies donated by the company. Some of the projects included repainting the 2.4-mile-long Seawall mural in Galveston, TX; repainting a center that helps refugees find employment and receive medical treatment in Louisville, KY; planting trees, painting, and beautifying a popular park in downtown Indianapolis, IN; and repainting more than 100 local Boys & Girls Club locations.

Children have been a focus of many charity programs supported by BASF’s Southfield, MI coatings North American headquarters. For example, the company provides many opportunities for children to participate in hands-on science experiments, such as at the 2014 Detroit Zoo Boo, a “trick or treat” around the Detroit Zoo. The company also supports Southfield High School’s First Robotics Team and the Southfield Public School STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Program. BASF donates annually to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit to sustain its Lunch/Book Buddies Program, in which BASF employees participate. In August 2014, BASF joined with Life Remodeled, a nonprofit organization, to renovate Cody High School and the surrounding Cody-Rouge community in Detroit. Over 200 BASF employees volunteered their time to make the improvements, and the company donated materials including epoxy flooring material, Smart Boards, work stations, furniture, a power washer, chemistry lab equipment, cabinets, and buffet stations for a new home economics center. In addition, BASF helped fund a new high-tech STEM lab. BASF has also supported the Children’s Center of Detroit since 1997. Altogether, BASF donated more than $45 million in North America in 2014.

CREATING HOMES

For more than 25 years, Valspar has provided paint, volunteers, and funding to Habitat for Humanity, which has helped thousands of families obtain decent, safe, and economical housing. Habitat offers a pathway out of poverty by helping families create something positive and precious: an affordable home. Since becoming Habitat’s national paint partner in 2002, Valspar has donated more than 2.2 million gallons of paint for Habitat homes built or remodeled in the United States. Most recently, Valspar announced a new, five-year commitment of $36 million in paint and funding to Habitat for Humanity, including a $2 million pledge from the Valspar Foundation. In 2015, donations will amount to more than $6 million in paint plus $350,000 to support Habitat’s affordable housing work. News of the pledge was announced earlier this year at the Valspar Championship, where a springboard of charitable initiatives took place to benefit the local community. As part of these initiatives, Valspar partnered with the local affiliate, Pinellas County of Habitat for Humanity, to donate a community park, made possible by proceeds from the previous year’s tournament.

REVITALIZING COMMUNITIES

Many paint and coating manufacturers of all sizes invest in their local communities on a regular basis. In May 2015, PPG Industries announced that it was expanding its investment in global communities where the company operates with the launch of a 10-year, $10 million initiative called “Colorful Communities.” The program will focus on renewal projects that incorporate employee volunteerism opportunities and PPG paints, starting with an initial $50,000 grant to the Propel Schools Foundation to fund a renewal project and support the science program at Propel Schools’ eight elementary schools. Together with community partners and PPG employee volunteers, the program will support projects that transform community assets, such as creating bright murals for libraries, repainting hospital corridors with uplifting colors, and hiding graffiti on community buildings with a fresh coat of paint. PPG expects to complete more than 14 Colorful Communities projects this year around the world. The investment in the Colorful Communities program will be in addition to the company’s current community engagement efforts, which in 2014 totaled more than $5.7 million (from PPG and the PPG Industries Foundation) for hundreds of community organizations across 24 countries.

AkzoNobel continues to pursue its “Human Cities” initiative and global “Let’s Color” program. As one example, volunteers from AkzoNobel’s Vivechrom brand in Greece helped to restore the exterior façade of the historic National Technical University of Athens, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious educational institutions. Residents of Hatay in Turkey also joined together with AkzoNobel volunteers to paint several buildings on Kırk Asırlık Türk Yurdu Street, the world’s first colonnaded street and the site of the world’s first street lighting, with paint donated by the company. AkzoNobel also launched two “Let’s Color” initiatives in Rio de Janeiro to help celebrate the city’s 450th anniversary. In Santa Marta, one of the city’s largest “favelas” (neighborhoods of urban poverty), the company recently unveiled a 15-meter mural created by famous Brazilian artist Paulo Consentino and local artist Swell. At the same time, the program’s ambassador—three-time French Open tennis champion Gustavo Kuerten—announced the #pintouRio450 campaign, inviting 450 local volunteers to paint as many houses as possible in their community by August 2015. AkzoNobel has been running “Tudo de cor para você” projects in Brazil since 2009 and has completed over 1,000 of them.

HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT

Axalta launched its support of China’s Mother River Protection Program with a multi-year grant to the China Youth Development Foundation. The project will create an “Axalta Forest.” Funds will be used to purchase trees, seedlings, and fertilizer to plant and maintain some 11,000 trees and expand the Xiahuayuan forest area near Beijing. New growth will provide “green lungs” in the area in addition to arresting soil erosion and helping to reduce the force of the winds carrying dust and sand into North China. The program also includes an ecological curriculum for area school children to educate them on the importance of environmental stewardship.