Some people make it a point to avoid their high school reunions, but not this year's winners. Amid countless other charitable and business obligations, both Ralph Drees and David Showers remain involved with their hometown alma maters, leading capital campaigns, overseeing reconstruction projects, and giving a hand up to the students following in their footsteps.
They're able to stay so close to their pasts because neither moved too far away. Drees, chairman of The Drees Co., based in Fort Mitchell, Ky., grew up in the next county over. Showers, president of Canal Fulton, Ohio–based development company Strausser Investment, was raised just a few miles from the suburb where he now lives.
The Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Awards, established in 1999 by Hearthstone, a national firm that provides financing to home builders, and Builder, were designed to honor home builders such as Drees and Showers, who devote countless hours and valuable resources to charities in need—and, by example, lead others to do the same.
Over the years, they've both set priorities for their giving: Drees concentrates on organizations that benefit the Northern Kentucky area, Showers on programs that serve children. The heads of those organizations invariably mention both winners' selflessness and the business skills they lend to large scale projects. “[Drees] takes his business leadership roles into the community. He brings us back down to reality. He asks the hard questions,” says Laurie Risch, executive director of The Behringer-Crawford Museum, which Drees helped guide through a lengthy expansion project.
Charities close to this year's winners will benefit from the generosity of this year's 54 sponsors. Drees will receive $150,000 to donate to the charities of his choice, and Showers will receive $100,000.
Bluegrass Benefactor: Preserving Northern Kentucky's heritage and helping the next generation of residents to succeed top Ralph Drees' priorities for giving.
Charity Begins At Home: A sense of responsibility and personal experience guide David Showers' philanthropic efforts.
Lessons Learned: Throughout his career, Ron Terwilliger has found ways to give back.
All Together Now: A culture of corporate giving permeates Pardee Homes.