2018: Bringing the BRR spirit to our local communities

For years, BRR has been an active part of the communities in which we live and work. Our firm was founded in 1963, so this year, we set out to commemorate our 55th year in business by coordinating and executing 55 service-oriented efforts from our studios across the country.

All studios in our 11 offices played a role in identifying and coordinating these efforts, each varying in size and level of involvement, for our employees to take part. Our firm also offers paid time for our employees to participate in these events during working hours.

In typical BRR fashion, and because we have a tendency to be a bit competitive, we beat our goal, and completed 60 projects. In total, our employees participated in:

  • 12 runs & walks
  • 12 collection drives
  • 10 design or building-related efforts
  • 8 food-related donation efforts
  • 7 environment-related efforts
  • 5 educational efforts
  • 6 other service-oriented effort

Our people donated more than 900 business hours, and countless evening and weekend hours, to these efforts and also collected hundreds of pounds of food and clothing for agencies in the communities where we live.

A few of our favorite highlights:

In Austin, our team spent time at the Sustainable Food Center in North Austin. Our teammates weeded and planted vegetable beds, fixed wheel barrels, constructed a nesting box for hens (hens which hadn’t laid eggs in several months), planted starter seeds, and learned about sustainable gardening. We were proud to support the efforts and education the Sustainable Food Center conducts for the low income community in Austin.

In our Kansas City office, our team joined forces with Henderson Engineers to assist the Veterans Home Project in building tiny homes for a local “Veterans Village”. Our team collected items to outfit an entire tiny home,  and spent time helping to design and build 15 of the tiny homes this past fall. Many of the homes opened in early November.

Our San Francisco team spent a morning with Lava Mae to take care of unhoused community members in San Francisco. Lava Mae started its outreach by converting public transportation buses into showers and lavatories on wheels in order to make hygiene a little easier for community members without a home. Our team spent their time helping Lava Mae guests shop their way through donated clothing and take advantage of other services, including medical screenings, haircuts, showers, breakfast/lunch, and games for the volunteers and guests.

Several of our Phoenix teammates spent a day on Arizona State University’s campus volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for one of their campus prevention walks. The AFSP raises awareness, funds research, and provides resources for people affected and impacted by suicide.

Finally, in Philadelphia, BRR teammates participated in ParkingPHL – which provides an opportunity to explore how public spaces could be better designed to serve the community. Our team transformed a parking spot and collected plastic grocery bags from visitors in exchange for a reusable tote. Our parklet featured a massive wall of more than 700 plastic bag flowers, reminding everyone to reduce, recycle and reuse.

As we wrap up 2018, I am grateful to my colleagues who donated their time and effort to these worthwhile causes. I’m proud that we exceeded our goal of 55 efforts, and proud that our service work will continue into next year.

Happy Holidays to all of you and here’s to a wonderful 2019!