Wilmington Area Rebuilding Industry (WARM) is a nonprofit company that does not focus on personal gains. Rather, the company places an emphasis on improving the lives of its community members.
WARM provides home repairs and accessibility upgrades for the elderly, disabled and low-income residents in the area. The company relies on volunteers to assist with the repairs.
Examples of services WARM provides are replacing roofs, fixing structural problems and adding accessibility features for the disabled.
The nonprofit has drastically increased its revenue in the past five years despite the economic downturn.
“We employ a very diverse funding stream,” said JC Skane, executive director of WARM. “We go after every single opportunity that presents itself to us. Our primary focus is always to raise funds to continue to help those in need in the area.”
Skane became the group’s first executive director in 2009.
“I was hired to take the organization to the next level, and hopefully will continue to do so in the future,” she said.
Skane credited attracting new volunteers and the forming of a governance board to assisting with WARM’s growth in the past few years.
“I think that now people know we can respond quickly to home accidents and accessibility issues. Our team of volunteers do a great job of helping those in the community, and hopefully they know how committed we are to improving their conditions,” Skane said.
Along with its revenue growth, the number of homes the group made improvements to also has steadily increased, from four in 1997 to 78 projects last year.
WARM recently established an office in Hampstead, where Skane says she hopes the nonprofit will be able to make an impact in Pender County as it has in Wilmington.
“The Hampstead office is an exciting opportunity for us to branch out and start our growth in the North Carolina region,” she said.
WARM also has tapped into the growing idea of voluntourism, in which travelers can volunteer to help the community while they are on vacation in an area.
Skane credits long-standing relationships with local churches as another crucial helping factor in growing the nonprofit and meeting its goal.
There are broader, community benefits beyond a single house, group official said. Housing upgrades help prevent emergency room visits as well as displacement of seniors to facilities, allowing them to stay in their homes longer.
For Skane, the success of the nonprofit directly correlates with the quality of volunteer services.
“The level of commitment from volunteers is crucial to our success and survival,” she said, “and the concentration on making the home repairs more accessible to the Wilmington community has let us enjoy the growth we are experiencing.”