Builder dreams big for cancer research

Builders and trades come together to donate brand new homes to St. Jude’s Dream Home program
Covington Homes helped raise over $940,000 for St. Jude (Photo: Blue Owl Photography for Covington Homes)

A future free of childhood cancer is a big dream. The St. Jude Dream Home giveaway is a novel step in achieving that dream.

Colorado Springs-based Covington Homes works with several charities as part of its corporate responsibility efforts. Its biggest project is building a Dream Home in Colorado Springs every year, according to owner and principal Grace Covington. The program works with builders and providers nationwide to donate newly built homes that are raffled off to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Would-be homeowners purchase tickets for $100 each to be entered in a drawing to win the brand-new home.

The first year that Covington and her husband Ron, co-owner of Covington Homes, built the home for St. Jude, they had their doubts about whether they could do the project.

“It’s something you work on every single week, and almost every day, the whole year round,” she explained. “We don’t just build the Dream Home, we get all of the trade partners to donate as much of the labor and materials as possible.”

For things that can’t be donated, like sewer and water tap fees, the company works with community banks and other nontrade partners to make cash donations to cover those costs. This year, Banning Lewis Ranch donated the lot where the home is built.

“This is year No. 6 where they have at least given part, if not all, of the lot, and this is year No. 3 where they’ve given 100% of the lot,” Covington said of Banning Lewis Ranch. “It’s a big chunk of the cost of the house.”

Covington Homes picks its most popular floor plans for the Dream Home every year, and fills it with upgraded appliances and fixtures donated by its national partners.

[Related: Toll Brothers goes big on giving back]

“For this year’s home, we picked the Palazzo, which won last year’s People’s Choice Award in the Parade of Homes,” Covington said of the floor plan for the 2019 home. “We thought that would be a really good one to put out there because it would help ticket sales, [and it’s a] popular ranch plan.”

The home is nearly 4,000 square feet, with an open floor plan and covered patio, and an estimated value of $525,000.

In addition to actually building the home and working with trade partners to contribute labor and materials, Covington Homes also works hard to generate excitement about the project to help sell as many tickets as possible. There are over 40 giveaways around the country raising money for St. Jude, including Colorado Springs and Denver, where Oakwood Homes is the builder.

Covington Homes helped raise over $940,000 for St. Jude, and in June, the home was awarded to Laura Betts. Oakwood Homes’ giveaway in Denver will take place in November.

[Related: After-school architecture program exposes kids to new career paths]

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus was previously the managing editor for Colorado Builder, and is currently Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning.

Danielle Andrus has 189 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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