Newland Communities, the largest privately owned developer in the U.S., today presented a check for $340,000 to HomeAid, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based national provider of housing for the homeless. Newland, which is also based in Newport Beach, raised this money through a Life is Good Pumpkin Festival that it conducted in 11 of its communities in seven states last Oct. 20.

This is the second year Newland has conducted this fundraising event. In 2006, it raised $400,000 for charities, much of it going to HomeAid. "We've aligned with HomeAid because it's time for the home building industry to give back to the community," said Derek Thomas, Newland's vice chairman, in an interview with BUILDER at the International Builders' Show in Orlando. "That's particularly true now, with the prospect of millions of foreclosures."

Thomas lauded the volunteer efforts of Newland's associates in this effort, including some employees who volunteered their services to help raise money even after the developer had laid them off as part of a cost-cutting move in response to the housing downturn.