St. Louis Business Journal Salutes Electrical Connection's Philanthropy

The IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership was the cover story in the St. Louis Business Journal’s April 12, 2024 feature on its corporate philanthropy awards.

In its accompanying article on the Electrical Connection’s partnership with Rebuilding Together-St. Louis the business publication noted “In late April, hundreds of electricians will volunteer their time to make repairs and upgrades to homes in disrepair in the St. Louis area for the 21st consecutive year. A partnership between the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection and Rebuilding Together St. Louis mobilizes skilled workers and provides materials necessary for completing home improvements that increase quality of life for residents in need.

“Older homes remain the dominant housing stock in St. Louis with many in disrepair, especially those of low-income and elderly residents,” Frank Jacobs, IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection chair, said.

The Electrical Connection is a partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local One (IBEW) and the St. Louis Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

The repairs don’t just address issues related to convenience for homeowners, but also make homes safer for residents by correcting life-threatening hazards, including the risk of electric shock.

"These aging homes can have hidden electrical hazards that spark a substantial number of house fires,” Jacobs said."

Volunteers possess the expertise to complete extensive repairs that comply with the National Electric Code.

Since 2003, the Electrical Connection has donated $2.3 million in labor and materials to repair homes through the partnership with Rebuilding Together. Rebuilding Together, with 2023 revenue of $2.2 million, has supported healthy housing by providing free home repairs to older residents, veterans, people with disabilities and other residents in need in St. Louis and St. Louis County for 30 years. 

The organization connects with homeowners and performs initial assessments of homes designated for repair months in advance of volunteer days to identify problems and order materials. The need for skilled electrical workers to make necessary repairs is critical, said Rebuilding Together St. Louis Executive Director Elaine Powers.

“Probably 90% of the houses that we go to visit and inspect as potential clients have some level of electrical hazards in them,” Powers said.

The organization also mobilizes other volunteers and contractors with different areas of expertise to support the completion of repairs and makes improvements to about 100 houses a year. Many repairs enhance homeowners’ quality of life instantly. Powers recalled the words of one resident, who expressed his gratitude after volunteers made repairs to his home.

“He told us that he didn’t  know that he could make his coffee and toast at the same time because he couldn’t run both small electric appliances at the same time before. That's just the thing that I think so many of us take for granted. That ability just to flip the switch or plug something in and feel confident that it will work and be safe,” Powers said. 

This April, the partnership will surpass 600 homes repaired. Volunteer days are typically marked by passion and positive energy.

“The turnout is truly remarkable in the morning as all the tables are set up. It is inspiring to witness the substantial number of electrical workers graciously volunteering their time on a Saturday to support the community," said Kyle McKenna, executive vice president of the St. Louis chapter of NECA.

The efforts directly reflect the Electrical Connection’s dedication to strengthening the infrastructure of St. Louis.

“When you look at some of our founding documents, this truly does go to our core values of improving the community, giving back to the community,” McKenna said.”  Learn more.