Building Goodness Foundation celebrates 20 years of improving lives

building goodness foundationBuilding Goodness Foundation celebrated 20 years of building community and improving lives at an event on Saturday.

Over the past 20 years, more than 1,600 volunteers have donated 142,052 hours on projects at home and internationally. They have designed and built six health clinics, nine schools, 10 community centers, and more than 1,100 homes in Central America, Haiti and Liberia.

Here in the U.S., volunteers built a community center in Pearlington, Miss., in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and renovated more than 60 nonprofit facilities and 120 homes in the greater Charlottesville area.

“What I love about BGF is that we do our work in community with others. The strategic partnerships we form help deliver what is best needed in the communities we serve,” said founder Michael Cernik. “Looking ahead, I see bright days for Building Goodness. Building on our past successes, the ripple effect of our work will continue to reach and impact countless lives in the communities we serve and will serve in the future.”

Saturday’s event also commemorated the recipients of Building Goodness Foundation’s 2019 Skip Wootten Volunteer Service Award. Francis “Skip” Wootten III was a master carpenter and a long time BGF volunteer, participating in numerous work trips in the U.S., Haiti, and Guatemala.

Whether it was working with BGF, the Boy Scouts, his church, or neighbors, Wootten embodied the spirit of community and volunteerism. He was a craftsman of the highest quality and embraced each project with great enthusiasm, consideration, and dedication. He passed away unexpectedly at age 54 in 2008.

Since then, BGF has used this award annually to recognize the outstanding service of volunteers who embody Skip’s approach to life, community, and service.

This year BGF paid tribute to two volunteers. Architect Candy Smith, a staple of the Charlottesville design scene for decades, has been involved with BGF since 2013. She’s designed two birthing centers in Haiti and has been to the country with BGF several times. A thoughtful, human-centered designer, Smith’s contributions to BGF and our beneficiaries are invaluable.

Local contractor Michael Pleasants is a new volunteer to BGF this year but he’s already taken two trips to help build a school in rural Guatemala and worked on several projects locally.

“Volunteerism is at the heart of BGF. By working together towards a common goal we achieve far more than we ever could as individuals,” said Board of Directors President Dan Fagan, “We thank Candy and Michael, on behalf of the entire BGF family, for their tireless commitment to BGF’s mission and to those we serve.”


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