For the fourth year in a row, Payne Family Homes of St. Louis has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway. And for the third year in a row, they’ve done so at no cost while raising $3 million for the kids of St. Jude. This year, the house, with an estimated 5,000 square feet, includes 12-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, spa-inspired luxury master bath, basketball court, media room and five-car garage.
As impressive as this home sounds, Cyndie Roche, vice president of sales and marketing for the homebuilder, said in the beginning success wasn’t a given. “It seems daunting when you haven’t done it before.”
But the company succeeded that first year and continues to do so because of the importance of fundraising to ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“It was just an easy commitment to make,” Roche said. “We are a company that is family based and, as a result, it’s very easy once you get behind what St. Jude does, what they’re trying to accomplish and how they work in conjunction with the local markets to make a difference.”
Success comes through commitment, teamwork and leadership, and Roche gives credit to Eva Walsh, vice president of construction, for leading the troops in this project. “The first year we had no idea what we were capable of, so we were just going to try to build a house,” Roche said. Walsh reached out to subcontractors “to explain what we were trying to do, how we could work with them, what it would take. We set the expectation that if you work with us as a partner, you must contribute in some way to this project.”
It was that personal touch by Walsh, Roche said, and a commitment to service and community that made all the difference this year when a brand new framing company became overwhelmed by the task. “We talked to the framing crews on other projects and four companies came together and all of them built the house in two days,” Roche said.
Sponsors of the St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway follow tradition by signing the floor of the house.
In addition to construction, Payne Family Homes works to promote the event and the St. Jude mission by engaging social media and working closely with a local television station. “Marketing really is just getting a message out, and it is a really easy message,” Roche said. “I’m lucky. We build an amazing house with a great reputation, and St. Jude is impossible to not support.”
St. Jude has helped increase the survival rate for childhood cancer from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since opening more than 50 years ago, and we won't stop until no child dies from cancer. That work wouldn’t be possible without the support of donors and partners like those who commit to our mission through programs such as St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway.
“One thing all of our partners say about Eva and working with us is that we are like family,” Roche said, “that we don’t treat people as subcontractors, we treat them like they are truly a member of this team and part of the company.”