On June 11, 2008 the Boy Scouts approved my Eagle Scout Application at a Board of Review and I am now an Eagle Scout. Thank you for your support to make this happen. The project goal was to raise $75,000 and take 20 volunteers to New Orleans to start to build a house for a worthy family through Habitat for Humanity. We raised $85,000 and had 26 volunteers to start a house for the Ross Family. We worked over 1,000 hours on the project. A step by step review of the project is attached. More information including pictures are available below.
Most importantly, the Ross family from New Orleans, who lost everything during Katrina almost 3 years ago, will be moving into a new Habitat for Humanity home in July.
The Boy Scouts of America has provided an excellent opportunity for me to develop leadership skills and take part in many adventures that I would have never done on my own.
I would like to thank the following people for their important roles in my project in the order they were involved:
First my uncle Ken Meinert who inspired me to do this project. He led the efforts to start Habitat’s Operation Home Delivery unit. Operation Home Delivery was built in response to Katrina. He is from Canada but spent two years of his life helping the Habitat Gulf Coast affiliates increase their home building from 50 houses per year to 50 houses per month.
Jim Pate, Executive Director of Habitat New Orleans, who shared time with me on Memorial Day weekend 2007 to show me the Katrina devastation and the possible projects I could do with Habitat. He and his entire staff provided fantastic support throughout my project. Especially Gina Stilp, our fund raising contact and Jenny our house crew leader.
David Greenberg and Bob Scott, experienced fundraisers gave me excellent suggestions and the courage to proceed on such a big undertaking.
Father Tom Miller provided access to the generous congregation at St. Joseph church in O’Hara Township and other spiritual support.
Debbie Groomes sent a fund raising email out to her email list of Fox Chapel Area School District residents.
Boy Scout Troop 380 sent a fund raising email to troop members and provided other significant support.
236 people/organizations made a contribution to Habitat for Humanity for this project.
Maggie Withrow, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Pittsburgh, received approval from her Board to donate $10,000 that was designated for Gulf Coast projects.
The crew shown above that went to New Orleans: Tina Cuppy, Paul Danyluk, Reed Eichenlaub, Kim Frances, Dayna Jackson, Pat Jackson, Denis Meinert, Fran Meinert, John Meinert, Ken Meinert, Marcy Meinert, Katharine Reineman, Derek Swiger, Matt Swisher, Ally Toole, and Aaron Vockley. Thank you for your time and effort.
Mr. Tony Staines and his crew of 5 from a New Orleans law firm that came out to the job site and were a big help in the construction.
Sipio and Gilda Jones for a work project to do on Monday in Merrick Cemetery.
President Carter for his 25 years supporting Habitat and Habitat's cause. I had the good fortune to meet him in New Orleans at his annual Habitat work project in May.
My parents who have been very supportive throughout this project.
Thank you to anyone who I may have forgotten, whether you helped behind the scenes or center stage.
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
We will be celebrating the achievement of my Eagle Scout Award at a Court of Honor on September 6. Once the details are set we will let you know and hope that you are able to attend.
Max Jackson Meinert Eagle Scout Project:Step by Step
(May 2007 to June 2008)
I took a planning trip to New Orleans on May 25 to scout possible projects with my uncle Ken Meinert.We met with my sponsor, Jim Pate, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.My project was approved June 13, 2007 by Mr. Andy Rogers of the Boy Scouts.He approved it as long as I had a backup plan which was to build some sheds and do some landscaping if I did not raise enough money for a house.
Step 1:Fund Raising Council started July 26, 2007.
Recruited 4 experienced fund raisers
-Mr. Bob Scott:member of Management Board for YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee; main objective was to raise money for an $8,000,000 renovation to the camp
-Mr. David Greenberg:raised funds for United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh (40 years), the Parent and Child Guidance Center (10 years), and for the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute (5 years)
-Dr. John Power:interested member of Adventure Troop 380; member of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church (involved with volunteer work in New Orleans)
-Denis Meinert:large network of possible donors
Step 2:The List
My four advisors constructed a list of what ended up being 181 possible donors for me to send letters to.I used the spreadsheet list to generate letters and track contributions.We received contributions from 121 of these letters or 67%.
Step 3:The Letter
I drafted a fund raising letter that was sent out in many forms: large contributors, email, St. Joseph bulletin, March match contribution, and it was edited four times throughout the course of my project. A copy is attached as Exhibit A.
Starting In September 2007 I approached several larger donors, so I could put an encouraging amount on my letter for the other contributors.I also sent a large wave of letters out with my signature and one of my advisors signature’s in September, October and November.I made follow-up phone calls a week after I sent letters to answer on questions.These efforts resulted in $66,500 of contributions.
Sent email out to the entire Fox Chapel Area School District with link to my Habitat website; this enabled people to donate online.We received $1,800 through the website plus several checks through these efforts.
Gave larger contributors an opportunity for a Habitat DVD and a presentation
Spoke at St. Joseph’s weekend masses on March 8th and 9th resulting in $6,700 in contributions.Speech is Exhibit B.
We received a $10,000 contribution in April from Habitat Pittsburgh; Ms. Maggie Withrow, Executive Director of Habitat Pittsburgh, was sent a copy of my email from one of my donors
A summary of the contributions by amounts:
1 Matching donor:$15,000
4 contributors$5,000 to $9,999
10 contributors$1,000 to $4,999
27 contributors$500 to $999
52 contributors$100 to $499
141 contributorsup to $99
236 total contributors for a total of $85,000
$30,000 of this total was from members of St. Josephs Catholic Church of O’Hara Township
Step 5:Getting the Team Together
In every one of me letters, emails, and speeches I included a small paragraph about needing volunteers for my trip to New Orleans
Slowly, but surely twenty-six volunteers stepped forward (including 3 other Boy Scouts from Troop 380: Life Scout Aaron Vockley, Eagle Scout Derek Swiger, and Eagle Scout Matt Swisher).See Exhibit C for a list of volunteers.
Tour NO Sunday and attend mass at St. Louis Cathedral
Clean Merrick Cemetery on Monday with the prompting of locals Sip and Gilda Jones
Tuesday worked on siding and roofing of two nearby Habitat houses.
After a dedication ceremony, including the Ross family who will move into the house, we started work on 2305 Mathis Street, Harvey, on the West Bank of NOLA on Wednesday.We did additional work on Thursday and Friday before returning home.
Step 7: The house is expected to be finished in July 2008 when the Ross family will make the house at 2305 Mathis Street a home.Some information provided by them:
My name is Edward Ross. I am 40 years old, very blessed to have a beautiful wife named Melody Ross along with 2 daughters and one grandson. I lived in New Orleans for 40 years of my life, attended Booker T. Washington High School where I graduated from, lived in New Orleans East for at least 3 ½ years before Hurricane Katrina. At the time of Hurricane Katrina my family and I evacuated to Houston, Texas where they made us feel at home at the time of the tragedy. On February 14th, 2006, I headed back to my home town New Orleans. Two weeks later me and my wife started back working to get things back in order due to losing everything we owned at the time of Hurricane Katrina. I am very blessed that I am becoming a home owner and that Habitat for Humanity was a part of it.
“We are walking by Faith, not by sight.”
Thank you for your support!
EXHIBIT A - Fundraising Letter
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT
Fundraising Advisors:Dave GreenbergDenis MeinertJohn Power IIRobert Scott
636 Ravencrest Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15215 – 412-963-8100 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Potential Contributor,
Hello, my name is Max Meinert. I am a 16 year old Boy Scout from Troop 380. I plan to build a house in New Orleans for my Eagle Scout Project to help make a positive change in a family’s life. To do this, I have created a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and you. If we supply $75,000 and some labor, we can help a family in New Orleans.I visited there last May and saw the devastation of Katrina that destroyed or severely damaged 400,000 homes. Even two years after the disaster, much work is needed.
Habitat has partnered with families to build over 1,500 homes in the New Orleans area since Katrina. Habitat’s policy of a “hand up” and not a “handout” means that, to receive a house, each applicant must perform 250 volunteer hours and repay Habitat’s interest free mortgage.During the Fox Chapel Area spring break from April 12th to the 18th, I will be leading a group of 15-20 volunteers to begin construction of the house. We have a few spots open, so if you are interested please contact me.
We have raised $63,000 so far, which includes a $12,000 match contribution for the month of March.Every dollar you donate this month doubles itself.If the generous match donation is met, we will reach our goal of $75,000.We are asking you to help by contributing to help build the house. The need is great. Any donation is appreciated. You may send a tax deductible contribution made out to Habitat for Humanity mailed to me at the address listed above or donate at a Habitat website (there is a link at www.MeinertLLC.com).Thank you for your consideration of this worthy cause. Your generous efforts will make a drastic difference in a family’s life.
Exhibit B – St Joseph Speech
3/8/08 I promise I’ll keep it short. Hello, my name is Max Meinert, and I am in the middle of my Eagle Scout Project. For my project I have chosen to build a Habitat for Humanity house in New Orleans. I have already raised $65,000, and need to raise $10,000 more by April 12th. If we do this, we can make a home for a family in need. I was hoping to give my efforts one final push by asking for your help. In April, I will be taking a group of 15 volunteers down to New Orleans to begin construction of the house, hand-in-hand with the family that needs and deserves it. I am asking for you to help by contributing to this cause. Through Habitat for Humanity we can make a difference in a family’s life. There is a summary of my project attached in the bulletin. I will be at the back of church at the end of mass to answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to donate, please pick up a pre-addressed envelope to mail a donation or make a donation in the bin at the back of church. Thank you, and have a nice day.
Exhibit C – The Crew
Tina Cuppy:Grandparents neighbor
Paul Danyluk:Great Uncle and photographer
Reed Eichenlaub:Classmate Kim Frances:Grandparents neighbor
Pat/Dayna Jackson: Uncle and Aunt (split time) Denis Meinert:Father and involved in Boy Scouts
Fran Meinert:Mother John Meinert:grandfather and regular Habitat volunteer
Ken Meinert:Uncle and worked with Habitat Gulf Coast
Marcy Meinert:Sister Max Meinert: Boy Scout and crew leader Katharine Reinemen:Sister of a Boy Scout and classmate
Tony Staines and several volunteers from his New Orleans law firm Derek Swiger:Eagle Scout and classmate
The pictures below were from our trip to New Orleans in April 2008. You may watch all the pictures by hitting the "Play" button below the large picture. You may also "right click" on any of the smaller pictures to download it or email it. For more pictures and stories from a high school group from Connecticut that we worked with in New Orleans please check their website: