By Liz Lizama
Since its humble beginnings in 1988, Northern Virginia real estate developer New Dimensions Inc. has sought to fill a void in the community. Founded upon the need for an affordable custom builder, the company aims to provide a custom home solution to clients who otherwise couldn’t affford it.
Falls Church resident Jennifer Landers, who took over as president of the company in 2009, created the NDI Gives Back program, which grants employees eight hours of paid leave to volunteer in their respective communities.
“As a company, we’ve always contributed to different organizations and done different things in the community, but what we wanted to do with NDI Gives Back is really give our employees an opportunity, as individuals, to go out in their individual communities to make a difference,” Landers said.
Employees then share their experiences at staff meetings. Landers said she enjoys hearing the individual stories about volunteering. “I hope it encourages them to do it regularly,” she said. “Once they go and see the impact that they can make that it then encourages them to get involved.”
Although participation in the program is not a requirement, 12 of the 20 company employees have already participated in the program and two others have community service plans lined up for this month. Some staff opted to volunteer on Saturdays in which case New Dimensions made a cash donation, in lieu of paid leave, to the employee’s organization of choice.
Landers used some of her hours this summer to greet World War II veterans at Washington Dulles International Airport. The veterans flew to Washington, D.C. as part of the Honor Flight Network, an organization that provides travel for war heroes to visit the memorials dedicated to their service. Veterans visited the National World War II Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
Last month, Landers returned to greet veterans visiting Washington for Veterans Day weekend. This time, she joined the veterans at the memorials for a special wreath laying ceremony.
Other NDI employees have used their hours to sort clothes and organize food pantries for needy families while some also helped to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
As a company, NDI provided Thanksgiving dinner for 18 local families and supported Operation Turkey, a Prince William County-based initiative to feed the needy around the holidays.
Taking NDI Gives Back a step further, Landers just announced a corporate matching program that will kick off in 2015. The company will now begin to match any charitable employee donations, doubling the contribution to the organization.
“I actually did some individual fundraising for my church this year, for our food pantry, and it got me thinking that this a great opportunity for NDI to give back with our employees as they are raising money for organizations that are important to them,” she said.
While NDI may be a small business, the home building company’s commitment to the community is expanding its reach through employee volunteer hours and charitable contributions.