Renewal Cares


  • In Your Community - Tiny Homes Project
    Giving back in our communities is engrained in our RbA culture, and as a company in the home-improvement industry, it’s no surprise that many of our teams choose to give back in this area. RbA of Pittsburgh is a great example. They are working with Community Shelter Services (CSS), a local homeless center, to provide a home that will allow homeless families to stay together. CSS in Erie, Pennsylvania, provides refuge and pathways to stability for people experiencing homelessness and poverty, enabling individuals to meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. They recently innovated a way to provide family-style emergency housing units where families can remain together and still use the services provided by CSS in the main shelter. "We can accommodate a mom and kids now, but when there's a husband, wife and a child or children, we don't have anywhere to keep them together. And if a boy is 16, 17, or 18, he has to go on the male side of the shelter," said Diane Lazette, Executive Director of Community Shelter Services. "The tiny homes will be safe havens for families with children." To make this vision possible, CSS needed support from the community. Enter RbA. When the team at RbA of Pittsburgh heard about CSS’s efforts to help homeless families, they were all-in. They not only sponsored the cost of one of the tiny homes, but built it, too! They presented the finished home to CSS in late November. In true RbA fashion, the Pittsburgh team went one step further; in addition to building the tiny home, they also provided and served food for the entire shelter on one of their construction days. “To be able to give back and have a company that supports, and all the talent that we have here building this building, it’s tremendous,” said @Michael Bazala, Branch General Manager of RbA of Greater Pittsburgh. The plan is to provide 10 to 12 tiny homes on property in total, the first of which were completed earlier this year. The tiny homes will measure up to 17-by-14 feet and contain a small bathroom and room for two bunk beds and a desk or table. Their occupants will have access to four warm meals a day, free laundry facilities at the main shelter, 24/7 security, easy access to transportation, as well as caseworker services and all other normal programming at the shelter. Thanks to RbA of Pittsburgh’s help, CSS will be able to provide shelter and services to future families in need for years to come. Great job, RbA of Pennsylvania for making a difference in your community!
  • In Your Community - YMCA Project
    Giving back in our communities is engrained in our RbA culture, and as a company in the home-improvement industry, it’s no surprise that many of our teams choose to give back in this area. RbA of Pittsburgh is a great example. They are working with YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer with their recent renovation project. For nearly 100 years, Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer has been a cornerstone of the greater Pittsburgh community. Nearly everyone you bump into has a memory and a story about their time at Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer. The camp is part of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh area and has served families of all kinds as they’ve created meaningful memories and passed on traditions for generations. Renewal by Andersen has given back to Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer, a place that’s made an incredible impact on the community. The generous donation marks the beginning of a transformational journey for the camp, so it can continue to serve children and their families for years to come. About Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer Established in 1926, Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer has been a steadfast presence in the lives of countless individuals within the Greater Pittsburgh area. Nestled on 550 acres of serene, wooded landscapes, the camp annually serves 10,000 people seeking to enjoy the outdoors and embark on thrilling adventures. Camp Spencer, an extension of Camp Kon-O-Kwee, serves adults with special needs through its overnight camp. Participants get a full camp experience while developing important social strengths and life skills. John Lally, a devoted trustee of Friends of Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer, a non-profit that supports upgrading the camp, shares a rich history with the site, and has personally felt its profound impact. In 2011, he assumed the role of board chair, a position he held for a decade . Lally emphasized the camp’s role in providing a unique and inclusive experience for those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges. “We often refer to it as a slice of heaven.” He went on to describe the change in campers when they’re surrounded by kids who are just like them. Whether children are missing limbs or have visible scars, campers feel like they can “let their hair down” and be themselves while at camp. “I think there are a lot of things that happen in this environment that many people don’t get to experience. And I think that the camp makes a profound impact on people’s lives,” said Mack McElhinney, the executive director of YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer. Lifelong Friendship & Divine Timing This renovation was made possible thanks to a lifelong friendship between Lally and John Simmons, a project manager at Renewal by Andersen of Pittsburgh. United by a passion for hockey, the two friends often exchange text messages during NHL Pittsburgh Penguins games. When Simmons learned of Renewal by Andersen’s search for a community organization with a need for windows, Lally and Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer immediately came to mind. “Our management team let us know they had funds to do a window or door project and I reached out to one of my friends, John Lally. I sent him a text message and said, ‘hey, our company has some money allocated to do a renovation project to help somebody in need’,” Simmons said. Unbeknownst to him, Simmons reached out to Lally within the same 24 hours that the camp identified a need for windows for two of its buildings, Scolari Lodge and Thompson Lodge. The synchronicity of events, combined with the generosity of Renewal by Andersen, left Lally and his team speechless. Lally reflected on the moment he got the news from Simmons: “You guys won’t believe this. My good buddy, we go to hockey games together, he just asked if we have a need for windows. Can you believe this?” Confirming the need, and after a thorough tour of the camp, the collaboration with Renewal by Andersen was swiftly sealed. “We're all here for the kids. We're doing something to make the camp better. And we're standing on the shoulders of some incredible people who came before us. We want to make this camp available for the next generation of kids,” Lally said. Lally believes that everything falling into place for the renovation was no accident. Following two tragic events, the loss of Lally’s son and a fellow camper, Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer holds an even more significant place in his heart. He believes that this lodge renovation would not be possible if not for someone “pulling the strings”. “I wonder if those two kids put that thought in John Simmons’s mind to send me a text that day,” he said. Whether divine intervention or something else, the timing for the collaboration couldn’t have been better. New Windows Make a Profound Impact Fast forward to December 2023 when Renewal by Andersen arrived, the team was bursting with enthusiasm and eager to get started. Mike Bazala, general manager for Renewal by Andersen of Pittsburgh, said: “We actually had people who have raised their hand and volunteered to be a part of this. It's incredibly special for us to give back to the community.” The old windows in the camp really showed their age. Many of them were propped up with plywood. Some had broken insect screens while others didn’t open or close properly, resulting in foggy windows and drafty cabins. The crew of 15 installers from Renewal by Andersen immediately got to work. In total, they replaced 54 windows in two cabins, ushering in an improved and more comfortable environment for campers. And no more foggy windows means campers can enjoy the view from their cabins. “Everybody's been so helpful. They've gone above and beyond with customer service. They've asked what we want and how we want it to look—colors and window types—making recommendations. They held our hand all along the way and made it a very easy process. Sometimes you can get bogged down with different contractors and get lost in the process. And Renewal by Andersen did not allow that to happen to us,” McElhinney said. Now that the new windows open and close with ease, they will help the cabins to be nice and cozy on cold winter days and allow for a cool breeze during the summer heat. Their energy efficiency not only enhances the comfort inside the cabins but also should help lower the camp’s heating costs. Strolling through the renovated cabins, McElhinney felt the immediate impact of the new windows. “It feels a little bit like home away from home. And I think that’s what we want to strive for; we want people to have that connection and have a sense of belonging.” Looking Ahead Approaching its 100th anniversary in 2026, staff at YMCA’s Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer sees the window replacement project as a big first step in a broader initiative. McElhinney said upcoming projects include renovations to bathrooms, enhanced accessibility spaces, and revamped bedrooms. Renewal by Andersen helped kick off the camp’s master plan, laying the groundwork for a continued positive impact on the community. “We have 110 rooms on the property and 500 acres of things that we need to work on. The master plan of renovations will give us another 100 years,” McElhinney said. Gratitude for Giving Back For Simmons, he’s grateful for Renewal by Andersen’s openness to employee input. He said he feels proud to work for a company that considers their employees and not only listens, but acts. “That's happened throughout my whole career at Renewal by Andersen. Our leadership team has always been open-minded to what anybody has to say. That's probably one of the reasons why I'm so proud to work here,” Simmons said. Lally extended his deep appreciation to Renewal by Andersen, acknowledging the lasting impact of its substantial contribution. “I hope I convey not only our gratitude, but the impact that your windows are going to have on kids and adults today and tomorrow,” he said. Renewal by Andersen’s impactful gesture transcends the mere replacement of windows at Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer, it marks a transformational milestone in the camp’s narrative. The newly refurbished cabins stand not only as structures but embody hope for shared experiences across generations. Campers now have a revitalized space to retreat to after fun-filled days of swimming, hiking, and adventure that will form lifelong memories. A testament to the enduring power of friendship, this philanthropic endeavor reflects the profound impact of a strong and compassionate community. We look forward to witnessing the camp’s centennial celebration and its continued legacy of serving this tight-knit community.