Triple Crown Sets Mark for Public Responsibility

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Small and midsize builders are often at a disadvantage in competition with the high-powered national cmpanies invading their markets with increasing frequency.

October 01, 1999

Small and midsize builders are often at a disadvantage in competition with the high-powered national companies invading their markets with increasing frequency. But one area where they seem to do just fine is public responsibility and charitable activities. With no-growth political factions becoming more active and forever trying to thrust a black hat on builders, maybe it’s time for big builders to take lessons from smaller ones.

 

Triple Crown developed its own charitable program called Holy House.

A good model is Triple Crown Corp., a 1996 NHQ winner, which built and sold 122 houses in Harrisburg, Pa., for $15 million in the fiscal year just ended (Sept. 30, 1999). Triple Crown founder Alex DiSanto was one of the pioneers of Habitat for Humanity activities in the Harrisburg area. Now that sons Mark and John are shouldering the majority of day-to-day management of the firm, they’ve expanded the company’s humanitarian efforts to include the "Christmas in April" program embraced by the local HBA. "We go in and remodel a house for a family who can’t afford it," explains John DiSanto. "The HBA did one remodeling job where the house had no running water, and we put in a fully functional kitchen and bathroom, and did it all in a week."

However, the DiSantos don’t stop with Habitat and Christmas in April. They have their own program they call "Holy House."

"In the last four years, we’ve built a house for Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church every year," explains Triple Crown director of design Dean Ramsey. "We donate a lot and then solicit labor and materials from as many of our vendors as possible. Two years ago, we raffled the house off. We sold the tickets for $100. That worked real well, but it’s now illegal in Pennsylvania. Since we can’t do that anymore, now we sell the house for market value and donate the proceeds."

Ramsey explains that Holy Name of Jesus recently built an elementary and middle school (grades 1 through 8). "Father Mahoney lets any kid come to that school, whether they can afford the tuition or not," says Ramsey. "The DiSanto family came up with the idea of Holy House to ease the financial burden of that on the church."

The most recent Holy House, 1,455 square feet in size, sold for $139,000. Thanks to the generosity of Triple Crown and its trade contractors, suppliers and partnering manufacturers, $113,000 was donated to the church.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone will be successful at portraying Triple Crown, or the DiSanto family, as anything less than a model citizen of Harrisburg, Pa.

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