David Simkins Understands the Power of Tech-Driven Real Estate
Curbio Partners With Non-Profit to Invest in Local Community
“When we came here, we were asking Curbio to replace a couple of the cabinet knobs,” laughs Interfaith Works CEO, Courtney Hall. After Curbio had reached out and inquired about updating one of their facilities, the IW team huddled to determine just how serious the offer was. They decided to start small: some cabinet knobs, an extra coat of paint – even though they knew the opportunities for updating Priscilla’s House, a long-term living facility, were actually endless. “We had paint on the walls that was put on by volunteers a few years ago; that was starting to fade. We waited with bated breath to see if they would say ‘Okay, maybe we can put paint on the walls…’ but as Rick and James walked through Priscilla’s House, their vision grew.
“They started by saying: ‘We can do that’ and ‘we can do this’ and then it was, ‘We can re-do this entire kitchen’ and ‘Let’s add some additional storage’ and ‘Let’s add a partition in the rooms so the women can have more privacy’ and ‘We’ll re-do the bathrooms too’.” Hall pauses and takes a deep breath. “And this,” he motions around him at the state-of-the-art kitchen, “it has just been amazing. It has really blown my mind. Seeing the finished product, it is so much more than I thought it would be… so much more. We’re very grateful.”
What started as a small request for some new cabinet knobs to update the kitchen of a local long-term living facility, Priscilla’s House, quickly turned into a $100,000 project. Curbio renovated the bathrooms, the kitchen, the living spaces, the flooring, and the bedrooms – and purchased all new furniture – all at no cost to the local non-profit.
Oh, and the cabinet knobs were updated as well.
Rick Rudman, CEO of Curbio, and his family have been long-time donors and volunteers to Interfaith Works. Since being born and raised in Montgomery County, prioritizing others and giving back has always been one of his personal – and professional – guiding principles.
Priscilla’s House, which is a long-term living solution for elderly women experiencing homelessness, had been in use for 18 years without significant updates. The women were sharing rooms, the storage was limited, the facilities kept breaking and the fixtures were dated to say the least. It was not – simply put – indicative of the level of care being provided by the dedicated men and women of the Interfaith Works team. The non-profit needed an updated facility and the women deserved an improved quality of life: and that’s where Curbio stepped in.
“Priscilla’s House was a project that added incredible value to the lives of the women who called this place home,” said James Bruno, VP of Special Projects at Curbio. “It functionally served them, but it didn’t provide the type of atmosphere they should have. So we recognized that we could do the work, as well as improve the facility to make it a place that was home for them.
“We had quite a bit of work to do in a short period of time. In fact, our timeline for renovation was exactly 3 weeks. So there was quite a bit of planning required. But when demo day starts, it’s the most exciting time because it’s when we get to start executing on a lot of the planning that’s taken place. You begin to get momentum and you see the months of planning come to fruition, and it’s so exciting to start the project knowing we’re 3 weeks from finishing it.
“Our priority was to provide a sense of space and home for the residents. Prior to the renovation they were sharing large rooms, so we put 5-foot separation walls that would give them a sense of their own space without feeling closed off from the other residents.
“For the kitchen, our goal was to modernize it so we went with white shaker cabinets accented against a dark granite countertop. The bathrooms were also outdated, and we wanted to freshen them up, so we went with a traditional white subway tile with a larger format gray tile on the floor.
“So it served both modern appeal as well as it was specially anti-slip flooring to keep the residents’ safety a priority. We also went with white vanities and a light gray wall: so it all came together with a fresh, modern, elegant feel – and also very functional.
“We replaced the flooring with luxury vinyl plank flooring which is durable and easy to clean. We chose a light walnut tone that complimented the lighter walls. It opened up the space and gave the home a clean look which is what we were looking for.”
Bruno, who oversaw every detail of the project over both the 3 weeks of execution and also the months of planning, enlisted the help of local Curbio employees to come and have the opportunity to be involved in this special project.
Over the course of two days, the volunteers (who ranged from HR employees to the sales team) came out and got a chance to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They assembled new furniture, landscaped and weeded, cleaned up and added finishing touches like the personalized boxes put together by the Curbio team, one for each resident. “Our Curbio team was incredible. We couldn’t have finished the project without them. The turnout showed such a sense of community – from a corporate standpoint – we were all getting together for a common cause. But it also demonstrated that our mission is bigger than just renovating homes. We all felt good, sure, but we also felt so proud of what our work said about our company and what it stands for, and how we feel about corporate responsibility in the greater sense.
“This was one of, if not the, most impactful projects I’ve been on since joining the company. Before we arrived this facility had more of an institutional feel,” Bruno described, “but our primary objective was to make it feel like a home.
“When we got to see the smiles on people’s faces and the gratitude they were showing us for our hard work… it really gives you a moment to reflect on how grateful I am for what I have, but also that I work for a company that is committed to helping others.”
Interfaith Works, a non-profit network of long-term and short-term facilities that helps those “across the spectrum of their poverty needs,” serves over 35,000 people a year through their comprehensive approach.
They are transforming the lives of so many people, but also, through their dedication and hard work, are improving the Montgomery County community as a whole. Their small but mighty team does so much – but there is always more to do. As Courtney Hall said: “I’m the CEO of a non-profit, if you ask how you can help I’ll always put you to work!”
This one project, a $100,000 renovation completed over the course of 3 weeks, is life-changing for the 7 women and dozens of staff who work at Priscilla’s House, but is simply a drop in the bucket when you zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Opportunities like this one are more readily available than we might think, and this holiday season (and all year) our challenge to ourselves and to other companies is to reach out to your community and simply ask: How can we help? If this experience is any indication, there is always work to be done in building the future we all want to live in.
Curbio, as a business, is focused on enabling homeowners to update their home now and pay when it sells. But Curbio, as a company, is on a mission of a much larger scale. Homes tell the stories of our lives. They are our safe space, our sanctuaries, and we believe that those spaces are sacred. Rick Rudman often describes what Curbio does as a “win-win-win scenario”: the sellers win, because they sell their home for more. The agents win, because they let Curbio do the work so they can earn back their time. And the buyers win, because they move in to their dream home. But when you factor in residents like those at Priscilla’s House, and the employees at Curbio – maybe Curbio is more of an “everybody wins” company. We get to invest in our community and improve people’s lives. We get to help agents and sellers maximize their profit. And we get to work at a company that believes the greater good is more important than the bottom line.
Learn more about how Interfaith Works is lifting up their community here.