About Us

We believe there is an untapped and enormous desire, especially among small-business owners in the trades, to give back to our community. We believe in connecting these small businesses, collaborating with them, and leveraging their generosity to build stronger communities. Lastly, we KNOW when neighborhoods thrive, everyone wins.

Our founding principles

The purpose of SHSF is to provide grants to homeowners in emergency situations to cover costs of essential repairs.

We believe home ownership is the American dream

Strong Homes Strong Families - Home ownership is the American dream

We believe that costly repairs often overwhelm or devastate homeowners, especially if the cost of repairs fall out of reach of their budget.

When homes aren’t maintained properly, the home becomes an anchor, not an asset.

We believe we can change this by bringing together generous supporters in our communities.

Lastly, we believe when a family lives in a well-maintained home with proper functioning plumbing, electrical, and HVAC they will have a stronger family.

about

Our history

Strong Homes-Strong Families was created by Karen Crnkovich, owner of DMC Service, Inc., a Kansas City-based plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor. Each year, DMC Service would get numerous phone calls from homeowners in dire need of HVAC service. Time and time again a technician would be sent to a home in subzero weather, diagnose a heater not working, and generate a repair quote only to see the look of despair when the homeowner couldn’t afford to make the repairs. (Similar scenarios also happen when it’s 100-degrees and the AC isn’t working.) Karen had a difficult time hearing about these situations and not being able to help those in need.

In 2017, DMC Service’s first Diamond Day of Service was created to devote one day to help a homeowner or nonprofit in need by donating time and materials to address areas of need in their home or business. The first year, the team chose a local Johnson County, Kansas family whose daughter was critically ill. This family had a very old HVAC system that was on its last leg and with the family spending their extra money on medical bills, they were unable to afford to replace it. The family also had a partially finished area in their basement they hoped to turn into a dance studio for their daughter who was an active ballet dancer before she became ill. 

The DMC team installed a brand-new HVAC system and Wi-Fi thermostat and sheet-rocked the basement area for the dance studio. It ended up being closer to a Diamond “Week” of service, but the satisfaction and pride the DMC team members felt in knowing they made a difference in a families’ life was priceless.

In 2018, the DMC team volunteered for a day with the local Habitat for Humanity. Leaning into their skills, the team made significant progress on one of the homes that were under construction. 

Then in 2019. Karen was introduced to Rosalynn McGinnis and her story.

When this story was featured on a local news station, there was a call to help Rosalynn and her family get settled into a home they were given by a neighbor.  Karen immediately reached out to KSHB news anchor Christa Dubill and explained that DMC could leverage their Diamond Day of Service to lend a hand. A few days later, Karen was on a walk-through of the property and discovered the house was a former drug house that was completely gutted. Upon meeting Rosalynn, Karen was touched by her enthusiasm and excitement of being able to fix up the home; the first her children would know.  Karen knew she could do more than just a day of service and committed to doing everything she could to make this a home. 

DMC Service agreed to donate the entire cost of installing a new HVAC system and all the plumbing. This was at a time when DMC Service was coming off a very difficult year financially, but that didn’t matter. Karen recalled, “I remember thinking that any challenges I had gone through were nothing to what Rosalynn had suffered, and I knew I could do more than I originally intended.” 

Karen and her team reached out to all of their suppliers and a few trade partners including MVP Heating and Cooling, who agreed to assist with the electrical installation. Many were very generous in donating equipment and materials to help offset costs. However, one question that kept coming up was “Is this a part of a 501c3?” Some vendors were not able to donate unless the project was a 501c3. 

Karen had thought of starting a nonprofit that could help homeowners in need for many years… the McGinnis project spurred her to take action and move forward. In early 2020 Strong Homes-Strong Families received its 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service.

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