This summer, Ruppert Landscape infused the energizing, positive impact of plants and flowers into The Children’s Home in Catonsville, Md., in partnership with the ABC2 News-WMAR Baltimore “Built Upon a Dream” community service project.

Established in 1863, The Children’s Home serves Maryland kids ages 13 through 21 who are victims of abuse, neglect or family breakdown, or who are in need of supervised care. The campus provides a suburban setting where children can feel secure, nurtured and have a sense of belonging while healing and rebuilding their self-esteem on the path to becoming healthy, productive young adults.

“The Children’s Home is filled with young residents who are going through a challenging time in life,” says Ruppert Landscape President Phil Key. “As part of this project, our goal was to help brighten this campus and the lives of those who live here.”

More than 100 employees representing five of Ruppert’s 19 landscape management branches invested more than 200 manhours in the event, planting nearly 500 perennials and 85 shrubs around six cottages and at the site entrance. New plant species were selected to add color and to ensure they’d come back annually with little upkeep from The Children’s Home maintenance staff.

The renovation also included upkeep of existing plant beds, light tree pruning, removing three dead trees in the courtyard, and mowing seven acres surrounding the cottages and pavilion. Ruppert teams also competed in several contests throughout the day, including a clean truck contest, mowing Olympics, tool inventory, and efficiency and quality audit.

“We enjoy hands-on projects because it gives our team members a greater connection to what’s being donated,” Key says. “We want our team to feel great about the work they’ve performed at The Children’s Home, but also be able to connect that feeling and our ability to donate to great causes like this—to the work they perform on a daily basis.”

That feeling certainly struck Tim Schofield, area manager in Ruppert’s Laytonsville, Md., landscape management branch.

“As a manager, it gave me a way to bring our team together, building a sense of camaraderie and allowing us to hone our skills,” Schofield says. “I feel very lucky to work for a company that cares about the communities where we do business. It is very easy to get caught up in the daily grind, so when our company allows us to take the time to give back, it shows their commitment to us and to the community.”

Counting time and materials, the total value of the campus renovation was approximately $16,000. On an annual basis, Ruppert Landscape gives 5 percent of its profit to charitable causes.

“I am awe-inspired by the work and generosity of this company,” says The Children’s Home CEO Andre Cooper. “The work and upgrades provided on our campus have been transforming in many ways—from the beautiful plants to the value, pride and lives of the youth who live here. These guys and gals were true role models to our residents and a major blessing for the 44-acre campus that was so desperately in need of refreshing.”

Several other local companies, including Manekin Construction, Columbia, Md., performed work at The Children’s Home as part of the Built Upon a Dream project. Manekin renovated the pavilion area, while others painted, built a deck, and installed new bathtubs, roofing and awnings.


Joanna Masterson is senior editor of Construction Executive. For more information, email masterson@abc.org or follow @ConstructionMag.