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A Boulder Alum Making BOULD Moves to Be Unreasonable

March 5, 2012

Meet Shane Gring, Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps VISTA Alum and Co-Founder of BOULD.

Nowadays, more of us are thinking like social entrepreneurs – finding out of the box solutions to solving some of our country’s most pressing issues, while utilizing what we learned during our service years. For his Life After AmeriCorps, we know one alum who will be given a chance to develop his Unreasonable solution.

Meet Shane Gring, a Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps Alum, who will be representing his company BOULD, at the 2012 Unreasonable Institute in Denver, Colorado, for the opportunity to accelerate and scale his social venture.

Shane discovered service after getting involved with Habitat for Humanity during his senior year at Miami University in Ohio. As he describes it, service sort of “exploded” at that time, becoming a very integral part of his last year in college. After graduating in May 2009, Shane, like most recent grads struggled to find a job, but knew that he wanted to follow his passion for service and working with Habitat.

Applying to multiple Habitat sites across the country, the Boulder affiliate, Flatirons Habitat for Humanity, got in touch with him for an interview and hired him that same day. He packed up his truck and headed West in August to start his AmeriCorps VISTA story.

During his service year, he was given the opportunity to get involve with the emerging field of green building. He would learn more about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and how his affiliate could build better green infrastructure for long term affordability and sustainability to help benefit future homeowners. This would help meet the overlooked challenge that most homeowners face after receiving their homes and struggling to keep it.

LEED Gold seeking home and partner family, built by Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity, in Fort Collins, Colorado

While serving as a VISTA, Shane also got involved with the green building community in Boulder, Colorado. He met many young professionals who were passionate about working in sustainable building, but were struggling to find ways to advance in their careers. In order to advance as a LEED professional, these professionals would need to take the LEED AP Exam, which would requires prior experience working on high profile LEED certified projects.

He found a creative way to meet both needs, creating Everbuild Pro; allowing entry level opportunities for professionals to work on Habitat LEED certified projects, while getting the necessary experience to qualify to take the LEED exams. In return, professionals pay a tuition fee, helping to meet the costs of the Habitat LEED site projects. In May 2010, the first pilot program started in Boulder. After his service year, Shane felt compelled to see where this program could go and was hired by both Flatirons and Fort Collins Habitats to work part time at both sites to further develop his Everbuild Pro Program.

BOULD staff member, Brian Brunsing in action at a LEED Platinum seeking Habitat for Humanity home in Boulder, Colorado

In April 2011, the program grew out of those two sites into its own social enterprise called BOULD, which he found with two partners he met the construction site, including UCAN Serve AmeriCorps Alum Shane Baldauf. Their mission was to eliminate substandardized housing through green building education.

Currently, they are partnered with 3 Habitats in Colorado and 1 each in Michigan, Alabama, and North Carolina, with talks with affiliates in 8 other states to offer their Everbuild Pro program. Since May 2010, they have been involved with 17 LEED registered homes, trained 115 building professionals, and raised over $20,000 for Habitat affiliates for green building projects.

As of February 2012, Shane and his company BOULD won a spot to be participants in the 2012 Unreasonable Institute. The Institute is designed to take small, for-profit social ventures that are looking to do mission driven social good and give them resources to help them scale up quickly, with the ambitious goal to make positive impacts on 1 million people.

Out of 300 global ventures that applied for a spot in this, they were chosen as one of the top 50 in the world. The top 50 were moved into the Marketplace, where the first 25 that fundraised $10,000 gain admission into the Unreasonable Institute.  The top 25 spend 6 weeks this summer in a house in Boulder, Colorado (think Social Entrepreneurs meet Real World) living and being mentored with advisers. In addition, investors with capital are invited to live in the house, as well, with the goal of funding one of these social ventures.  Their 6 week stay will also be filmed and shown on Unreasonable.tv, chronicling each entrepreneur’s journey through the Institute.

When asked what a Lifetime of Service means to Shane, he explains simply, “It is everything.”

“Honestly, my Americorps year put that [service] as a priority. It’s how I derive meaning – Being able to get myself beyond my ego, beyond my selfish desires and being able to transcend and invest in someone else’s life, someone who really needs it [service].”

“On the habitat site, swinging that hammer and meeting those families – that’s my greatest joy.”

His AmeriCorps experience was the opportunity for him to take a strong leadership role right out of college. While most of his peers took jobs at firms, they didn’t have the opportunity to be inspired and lead. AmeriCorps freed Shane to push the limits, find a muse to develop, shape his future, and find his passions. He was able to look beyond his financial worries and comfort zones and just serve.

Of course, his AmeriCorps experience can only be described in one word: BOULD.

Now that they’ve secured their spot in the 2012 Unreasonable Institute, help them spread the word about BOULD to your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate or US Green Building Council chapter. It’s always great to see a fellow AmeriCorps Alums doing big things in the international space, so let’s support BOULD as they continue to grow.

Stay connected with Shane and BOULD as they ready for the Unreasonable Institute on Facebook, Twitter, and their main site.

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