FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kim Walker
Dec. 11, 2020 Public Relations and
Media Relations Specialist
Canopy Housing Foundation names Richard “Rick” Gilbert
2020 Humanitarian of the Year
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the Coronavirus pandemic wears on, affecting countless individuals and families while creating deeper social and economic needs within the community, the important work of Canopy Housing Foundation carries on.
Canopy Housing Foundation, the charitable-arm of Canopy Realtor® Association, recognizes that through its continued service it is able to shine a light on the work people and nonprofits are doing across its primary areas of influence: Mecklenburg, Iredell and Haywood counties. Realtors® and real estate industry leaders who are deeply committed to supporting the Foundation’s work paid tribute and recognized Richard “Rick” Gilbert, president and founder of Home Again Foundation, Inc., as the 2020 Canopy Housing Foundation Humanitarian of the Year at the Association’s 2020 Annual Meeting, Awards and Auction. The event was held virtually on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
Before founding Home Again, Gilbert had a long history of working with the homeless population in Mecklenburg County. His work with St. Luke’s Room in the Inn program and as a liaison with Roof Above (formerly Urban Ministry Center and Men’s Shelter of Charlotte) spans nearly 24 years, 13,000 personal volunteer hours, and has impacted some 3,200 homeless persons. As former director of St. Luke’s Room in the Inn program, he and his team of 50 volunteers provided safety, dignity and community to the homeless clients St. Luke served. His work continued with Roof Above as a liaison tasked with coordinating the transportation of homeless families on Friday evenings to St. Luke Church on a weekly basis during the coldest months of the year (December through March). Once those homeless clients were onsite, St. Luke Church greeted clients with hot meals and accommodations for the night, while also creating an atmosphere filled with fun and entertainment before a good night’s sleep for the clients, known as “neighbors.” On Saturday mornings the neighbors were treated to a big, hearty breakfast and bag lunches to go before Rick transported them back to the areas from whence they had come.
While Rick’s efforts with Room in the Inn has been significant, his passion for change caused him to understand that his efforts were still not providing a solution to ending homelessness. In June 2018, Rick became the president and founder of the Home Again Foundation, which dedicates itself to providing affordable and sustainable housing with supportive services for the homeless or those who are at-risk of becoming homeless. Through Rick’s leadership and faith in the project, Home Again has built nine one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages that will allow 17-20 currently homeless individuals to get off the streets of Charlotte by the end of 2020. However, this is only the first part of his vision. Through his work in connecting and supporting other non-profit partners, Home Again will be able to provide supportive services such as transportation, budgeting, medical assistance, childcare, employment assistance and other identified needs to ensure the residents of Home Again are on the path to self-reliance. His ultimate vision includes building a 300-cottage community that will provide dignity, safety, and hope for some 500 homeless clients over the next 24 months.
2020 Canopy Association/Canopy MLS President John Kindbom said, “Rick’s motto of ‘create community’ deeply aligns with the vision and mission of Canopy Housing Foundation, which makes him truly an example of a humanitarian and exemplifies the overall spirit of this award. His passion, commitment and work with the homeless population is a special calling and one that serves an inspiration for our Realtor® members who are also dedicated to this work. It further reminds us that one small act, contribution and vision can make a difference and impact an entire community.”
As the Canopy Housing Foundation’s Humanitarian Award winner, Rick Gilbert received a commemorative crystal award and the ability to designate the charity of his choice to receive $5,000 from the Foundation. The Home Again Foundation of Mecklenburg County will be the recipient.
About Canopy Housing Foundation
Canopy Housing Foundation is the charitable-arm of Canopy Realtor® Association. The Foundation works to create a community where all housing needs are met, with a mission to create housing opportunities through advocacy, education, funding and leadership. Canopy Housing Foundation established the Humanitarian Award in 2007. The award, given annually at the Canopy Realtor® Association/Canopy MLS Annual Meeting, Awards and Auction, recognizes individuals, projects or groups making outstanding contributions in the community. Since 2007 the Foundation has returned more than $40,000 to community organizations through this program.
For more information, about the Association or the Foundation visit www.CarolinaHome.com. For interviews, please contact Kim Walker.