Good Works, a Coatesville-based nonprofit, is not only dedicated to repairing homes for low-income homeowners in Chester County. It’s also dedicated to restoring their hope.
Fulfilling this mission, however, became much more difficult during the early days of the pandemic, especially since Good Works fixes houses at no cost to the owner and relies on more than 1,700 people each year to volunteer their time.
“When the COVID lockdown started, the low-income families we serve were the ones who were losing their jobs, and they were being forced to quarantine in homes that were more dangerous than the virus itself,” said Bob Beggs, Executive Director of Good Works, which recently completed its 1,000th home since its founding in 1988. “Our challenge was that volunteers were staying home.”
In an ordinary April, Good Works would benefit from approximately 3,000 volunteer hours. In April 2020, it received 174 hours.
“We knew that to meet the need, we would need to use our paid staff more than ever before,” said Beggs. “We also had the problem that individual giving had begun to dry up, so we needed a source of income.”
When Beggs realized that Good Works needed a Paycheck Protection Program loan in order to continue to operate, he began canvassing the area for banks that his organization had a relationship with.
“We had already begun hearing horror stories about dealing with larger banks,” said Beggs. “So, we turned to First Resource Bank to help us with the (PPP) loan process. They made it very easy for us to go through what seemed to be a challenging process. We felt like we were a priority customer to them, and before we knew it, the money was in our account and we were able to continue to serve people in the community.”
The goal of Good Works is to see the inhabitants of the homes it repairs rise above their level of poverty and experience a rich measure of hope, joy, and dignity through being cared for and knowing that their circumstances matter to their community.
Likewise, Beggs felt that Good Works was taken care of by First Resource Bank.
“We think of our relationship with First Resource Bank like a family,” he said. “We are honored to be a customer and a recipient of their services.”
First Resource Bank also played a pivotal role in Good Works recently being rewarded $160,000 in funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program. The AHP finances the purchase, construction, or rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing for low- or moderate-income households and supports affordable housing for special needs and homeless families, among other groups.
Glenn Marshall, First Resource Bank’s President and CEO, had introduced Beggs to John Bendel, the Senior Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. Good Works and First Resource Bank teamed up to craft a proposal that was ultimately one of 52 – from a competitive field of 151 applicants – that won 2020 AHP funding.
“With that funding, Good Works will be resourced to make a huge difference in the lives of some very needy and COVID-weary families throughout Chester County in 2021,” said Beggs.
“Helping Good Works obtain a PPP loan and secure a grant from the FHLB is what community banking is all about,” said Marshall. “Communities take care of one another, and they cultivate bonds to strengthen the neighborhoods in which they work and live. I am incredibly proud of the relationship we have built with Good Works and look forward to continuing to support them in their mission to repair homes and restore hope.”