A truly one-of-a-kind piece of furniture garnered big dollars at a recent auction to help raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fort Wayne. The Big Green Egg Grilling Cart will make one person’s backyard green with envy and was the creation of an I&M team.
Ashley Savieo, Economic Development director, volunteered as one of 10 “Goddess Contractors” to help raise money for Habitat’s Women Build program. Each woman, or “Goddess,” was challenged to select an item from ReStore – Habitat’s nonprofit home improvement store – and re-purpose it “into something fabulous.”
“It is proven that homeownership is a cornerstone of building strong communities and curbing generational poverty,” Savieo said. “At I&M, we believe it’s important to give back and support growth in our communities. So, this volunteer event with Habitat for Humanity was exciting and fun to be a participant.”
Savieo and her teammates – including I&M Community Affairs Manager Kelly Rentschler – formed Team Hustling for Homeownership, sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power. They selected a cabinet and turned it into a Big Green Egg Grilling Cart complete with – you guessed it – a big green egg.
“This grilling cart will really be the talk of the neighborhood it’s in. We wanted to make sure it was perfect for any patio or outdoor entertaining space and that it was portable,” Savieo said.
Grilling utensils, cookbooks, wood lump charcoal, knife set, cutting board, shatter-proof drink wear and linens were also included. The beautiful cart was also equipped with a Yeti stocked with an assortment of canned beverages and five unique bottles of bourbon hand- selected by Ashley’s husband, Brian Savieo, who is a certified spirits specialist.
Team Hustling for Homeownership invested more than 100 hours in carefully replacing aged wood, refinishing salvaged pieces and breathing new purpose into the old worn cabinet. The team raised almost $12,000 for the fundraiser, and the Big Green Egg grilling cart fetched $3,500 at the annual ReStore Your Passion auction that took place last week. The whole event brought in about $170,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales and Goddess Contractors fundraising.
I&M has been a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity, with a number of employees volunteering to help build homes for people who would otherwise not be able to purchase a home.