Editor’s note: Watch the video to see and hear what Charles Antis has to say about giving back to the community. You can read the transcript below the video, but we recommend seeing it for yourself.
Karen Edwards: Hello, everyone. This is Karen Edwards. I am the editor here at RoofersCoffeeShop®. And joining me today is one of our roofing influencers, Charles Antis from Antis Roofing out of Orange County, California. Hi, Charles.
Charles Antis: Hey, Karen.
Karen Edwards: Thanks for being here. It's great to see you. We love to hear from our influencers and our topic for November is, what do you do when your company gives back? And I know that this is a topic that's very near and dear to your heart, Charles. So let me hear it.
Charles Antis: Well, I can answer that a lot of ways. I get excited. And so, I want you to steer me because you know me, I get excited, but what do I do? Well, I'm all in. I'm the passion holder. I'm the cheerleader. I'm the one who's making sure that we're giving back.
Charles Antis: Historically, what we do when we give back is we give that thing that we do best, that keeping families safe and dry. We give that gift away. We give it in the terms of donating Habitat roofs. Antis Roofing has donated every Habitat roof in Orange County over the last 11 years, along with Eagle Roofing Products. That's over 80 families housed and over a million dollars.
Charles Antis: So that's how we give back because it makes sense. We exist as a roofing company to keep families safe and dry, and everybody here knows it. It makes answers to questions easy. It makes the workflow easy, and it makes giving easy.
Charles Antis: We also keep the families safe and close to their sick kids by providing the safe and dry, by providing the roofs of Ronald McDonald House, as do over 200 roofing companies across the country. We do that together and we're better together as an industry because of it.
Charles Antis: However, as the CEO, we also have to give back in different ways. For example, when this pandemic occurred, our giving was slowed down. The Habitat builds were temporarily stalled. The Meals of Love at Ronald McDonald Houses were stopped. So there wasn't a lot of some of the giving and the way we talked about it that we could do. And so, what we did then as we listened to the community and the community said four things we heard, or three things really clearly.
Charles Antis: And one was, we need blood. We needed blood, so we donated 7,000 square foot of office space. Next week, we're having our 18th blood drive in the last six months. We've raised, I think, 1300 life-saving treatments of blood. So that's one area that we started giving. And the reason we did is we heard somebody say we needed blood and we could use your space. It wasn't my idea.
Charles Antis: The second thing that we did that was unique was we heard, as you have in your community, about food insecurity and how it was touching over 20% of the people in our community, almost exclusively seniors and children. And so, we got involved in delivering food every week, and I was the first one to do it. And I did it because I had to. I did it because you told me, people told me.
Charles Antis: My Director of Cause told me, my wife, other people mentioned that they heard about people starving, not having food, so I raised my hand and I went to the local food bank and I said, "How can I help?" And they said, "Please join the Second Harvest Truck Brigade for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County." And we did. And now, it's a thing.
Charles Antis: We've started filling the hardest slot every Tuesday or every Wednesday. At 2:00 o'clock we sent three trucks, we sent a small fleet to help out. And the other thing that we helped out is I had a restaurant that found that they could keep four of their stores busy if we would help them deliver food to the frontline heroes and help fund to pay for the food for the frontline heroes.
Charles Antis: So we started a partnership and helped found this group called the California Love Drop, where we bring food to doctors that are fighting COVID, to frontline police that are keeping order, and to fire that are keeping order here.
Charles Antis: As I've mentioned before we started this, it smells like smoke here. My wife is here at the office. She just got evacuated, took her three hours to get here because we're living in these times. Well, the least I can do as a company is to show up with my people and say, thank you, and so that's what we're doing.
Charles Antis: We're evolving in the moment in our philanthropy to fill the needs of the community that they're having today. And we're listening through the lens of the pains up today because you, and everyone listening to this, is going through the same thing we are, and we're having these insecurities in our environments where we live.
Charles Antis: And so, I think the metaphor though, I want to realize is in changing our community service, it's a metaphor for the changes that need to occur in our companies if we're going to survive and thrive in this new, super adaptive world that we're moving into.
Charles Antis: And I think the last six months on this RoofersCoffeeShop, in this forum, on my blogs, I've mentioned this super adaptive world we're moving into, that none of us know exactly where it's going to land. And so, being relevant, for us in philanthropy, is taking care of the needs that are occurring today, just as being relevant in the community, as far as a business entity is going to be keeping families safe and dry in the way that they hear messaging today.
Charles Antis: So that's an idea of how we're doing it. As you can tell, I'm all in, and because of this, because of the philanthropy, and because that I'm all in as the CEO, we have the best culture we've ever had and our people have the best job security that they've ever had.
Charles Antis: So I love this month's question, and by the way, you can contact me on my LinkedIn and I will answer any questions to any companies who want to learn how to do CSR better. And if you follow me on LinkedIn, you'll see that I post on this almost every day.
Karen Edwards: I talk to a lot of contractors every day who are so generous, they have big hearts, but they struggle with sharing what they're doing, because they feel like they're bragging or they're trying to toot their own horn. So what advice would you offer to contractors who are helping their community, who are giving back, and how to let people know that they're doing that in the right way?
Charles Antis: Thank you for asking that question. It is such a bias. As you know, as I've helped propel the roofing industry to adopt all the Ronald McDonald Houses, one of the most common answers I've had, and I get in trouble for the way I answer this because I always give them a Southern accent. But when I say, "Hey, will you donate a roof?", I get an answer maybe from someone from Florida. And it comes like this, "Well, by God, I'll give the roof, Charles, but we're not going to talk about it." And I'm like, "Dude, if we don't talk about it, how's it going to grow?"
Charles Antis: And I always win that argument because the reason, by the way, the reason he says that, and the reason I used to say that, it's the bias baked in, something, Reid [Ribel 00:06:37] and I got into a long conversation last week talking about this, something, maybe in the wording of some of the stuff we read in church that don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing or God's going to curse you.
Charles Antis: And it sounds really over the top saying it that way. But if I really break it down, that's why I didn't talk about it. It felt unsafe to talk about it. It felt like I was bragging, or I felt like you were going to ask me for more roofs and I can't afford to give more roofs.
Charles Antis: But what I found is by talking about it, wow, we have a real culture. People are excited to go to work, work's like a family because we know truly why we exist. It's to keep families safe and dry, no matter what. And that's why it really exudes this.
Charles Antis: And so, when you learn about it and I'll give you one more thing. I've been on the board for Habitat locally for 10 years and before I joined the board, I got a lot of bias from people saying, "Hey, don't join that. It's a religious organization and that's going to hurt your brand." Well, we're not talking about religion.
Charles Antis: And one of the other biases was, "It's the most inefficient build. I'm telling you, donate the money that you would have gone and worked that day, and you'll end up with more." And I thought, "Well, that could be true if you look it from that perspective.", and what they're complaining about is every time you frame a wall, when you start to lift it up, they say, "Freeze.", and they take your picture. They take your picture a hundred times and they show it everywhere.
Charles Antis: And what I've learned is, okay, it's a little bit inefficient. In fact, sometimes we do poor work and the night crews come and fix it. But because of telling the story so well, Habitat For Humanity has become the largest home builder in the world, creating more homes for more families than any other entity, not just families that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it, but families in general. So this is a very powerful model, and that's why we talk about it. Because we don't talk about it, how's it going to grow?
Karen Edwards: Thank you, Charles. I really appreciate that answer.
Charles Antis: We may not have [crosstalk 00:08:26] question. I'm ready for more, Karen.
Charles Antis is the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. See his full bio here.