At McKelvey Homes, it is a part of our culture to give back to the communities in which we live and work. President Jim Brennan was recently honored by The St. Louis Business Journal in their Corporate Corner feature article about Giving Back to The Community. Read the article below to see why giving is so important to us.
Why is giving important? There were eight kids in my family, and our parents taught us the importance of giving. As the oldest son, I got a kick out of buying Christmas presents for my younger brothers and sisters at an early age. On his deathbed, my father talked about how blessed and rewarded he felt to do “favors” for people and organizations, and he challenged me to set a good example for my siblings.
Giving seems to be part of your culture; how did that come to be? It’s so important to me and part of my DNA. We’re all born equal, but everyone doesn’t have the same advantages, so those who have more should help those that need more. I brought my giving belief with me to the company when I purchased it from Bob McKelvey 21 years ago, but we’re also trying to carry on his legacy. He passed away in February, but he did so much for the community.
What does it personally mean to you to know that you are able to help people in need through a company that means everything to you? We gave to 86 different charities in 2020, and we’re so proud of the effort. I got involved with Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital over 30 years ago through a golf tournament, and it’s very rewarding work. When you give you get, but I get far more in return. Our employees and subcontractors get involved and our Homebuilder’s Charitable Foundation supports projects related to housing. It’s hard for us to say no.
How are decisions to give made by your corporation? - We don’t have an official policy, but most of our decisions come from conversations with employees or from the management team. My wife Rose says no one should be hungry, homeless, or without medical care so we focus a lot on those areas. My sister’s granddaughter has a rare form of epilepsy, so another sister and I started the Dravet Syndrome Foundation a few years ago that’s raised almost a half-million dollars for research and treatment. I’m so humbled that the construction industry supports me on this, and my son recently started a Drive for Dravet golf tournament coming up in August to support it as well. It’s my duty to teach and set the example for others on giving.
What does it mean to be part of a St. Louis community that is nationally known as being one of the most charitable cities? - St. Louis is just a great place to live with its Midwestern values of treating people the way we want to be treated. I’m lucky to have so many generous friends, and it really gets contagious. When you see one company being so generous, you don’t want to be left out. It sets up an environment of positive peer pressure.
Any personal stories connected to giving through your company that you will never forget? Something that reminds you of why your company gives? - Rose and I toured Cardinal Glennon and saw open heart surgery on an 18-month-old girl some years ago. Later that evening, we met her parents and grandparents, who hugged and thanked us for helping raise funds so kids like her could be treated. Cardinal Glennon doesn’t turn any kids away if they need help. They call it the “Glennon Factor” that provides “the healing power of God.” Even the surgeon said that his hands may have done the surgery, but it was God’s work. That was so impactful.