Production builder Pardee Homes sometimes takes 25 or more years to build out a community. So it's been important since the early days for the Los Angeles–based company to participate in, and give back to, the areas where it builds, say president and CEO Michael McGee and executive vice president and COO Hal Struck.

In 2004, Pardee devoted more than $450,000 to service programs, special projects, and community contributions, and the company more than doubled that figure to $1.2 million in the first half of 2005 alone. Pardee has developed four categories for involvement: community service and help for the homeless, education, youth development, and health-related causes. HomeAid, the Revlon Run/Walk, and a 5K race benefiting a local high school have all become top charities for the company's 750 employees.

Recent flush times have made generous giving easier, though McGee says Pardee's commitment won't wane, even if the housing market softens. “There's no doubt that in a less robust business environment, you have to look more closely at your spending,” he says. “But ... you have to be consistent. You have to be there year in and year out. Many of these organizations cannot operate unless you demonstrate commitment to be there for them.”

LEADERS OF THE PACK: Pardee Homes president and CEO Michael McGee (right) and executive vice president and COO Hal Struck (left) say philanthropy is a core value within their company. Employees volunteer with dozens of community organizations.
LEADERS OF THE PACK: Pardee Homes president and CEO Michael McGee (right) and executive vice president and COO Hal Struck (left) say philanthropy is a core value within their company. Employees volunteer with dozens of community organizations.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.