A bold and ambitious project begun by Benjamin Moore Paints in September has been completed in time for the holidays. The company's Color Care Across America gave 51 emergency shelters—one in each state, plus one in Washington, DC—uplifting color paint makeovers. A partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors yielded the shelters deemed in need of the color redos. The paint manufacturer's other collaborator in this project was the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), which rallied many of its members nationwide to volunteer for the cause.
From Portland, OR to Portland, ME, and from Honolulu to Anchorage, Color Care reached a range of shelters—some serving homeless men or women only; some women and families seeking aid from domestic violence. There were shelters that offer drug rehabilitation, others dedicated to adults with developmental disabilities, those for recent refugees from war–torn countries, and even one that provided sanctuary from child trafficking. Mayors of nearly every city on the Color Care "to do" list took time out of their schedules and appeared at the shelters to express thanks to the volunteer paint crews and meet with the shelter directors and their management. They witnessed first–hand how paint color almost magically and instantly brightens and revitalizes a facility. Several of the mayors rolled up their shirtsleeves to roll on some paint, as well.
"A poignant, inspiring and compelling story emerged from each city we visited," said Eileen McComb, director of corporate communications for Benjamin Moore, and the key engineer of Color Care.
In explaining her company's decision to undertake the initiative, McComb said, "Many hard–working families are experiencing the loss of their homes, and finding that the American dream of home ownership is fading. They are among the growing ranks winding up in shelters. It's demoralizing, and in some cases, a de–humanizing condition that can break the spirit of any family. Obviously, there's no simple solution to this troubling occurrence, but Color Care at least helped bring attention to the issue while helping to improve the living environments for those who seek this basic human need of having a roof over their heads."
Color Care entailed a promise to paint up to 10,000 square feet of each shelter's interior. All told, approximately 3,000 gallons of paint were contributed, including leaving behind a few extra gallons with brushes and rollers, in case residents, staff or volunteers became inspired to spruce up other areas of the house that remained in need of a coating.
Helping to ensure that the color options for these community residences added an upbeat mood while respecting local and regional tastes, the editors of House Beautiful magazine worked with Benjamin Moore's senior interior designer, Sonu Mathew, in putting together seven suggested palettes that each shelter was able to choose from.
"There were no cookie–cutter looks," said McComb, "and no standard institutional hues. This was meant to be an empowering opportunity for the shelters to select colors that are livable and likable."
To see and hear more about the Color Care paint jobs, visit
"The word 'amazing' keeps popping up in comments from everyone who learns about the project," said McComb. "Amazing is only the half of it."
About Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore & Co., a Berkshire Hathaway company, was founded in 1883. One of the country's leading manufacturers of premium quality residential, commercial and industrial maintenance paints and other coatings, its products are distributed via a network of independent paint and decorating retailers throughout North America. Benjamin Moore has been a longstanding steward of the environment with a relentless commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices plus the ongoing development of the most eco–responsible paint formulations possible. Its portfolio of Green Promise® products continues to grow and includes Aura®, its über–performance low–VOC paint; Natura®, the true zero–VOC interior paint, remaining zero after tinting in any color, any sheen; and EcoSpec® WB zero–VOC paint for commercial interiors. The J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Interior Paint Satisfaction Study ranked Benjamin Moore highest in consumer satisfaction. What's more, the Benjamin Moore color offering of 3,300 hues is unrivaled, but any custom color choice can be matched, as was recently done for the White House Oval Office ceiling and trims. The only assurance of getting an authentic Benjamin Moore color is using Benjamin Moore paint, since the colorants and resins are proprietary and formulated with the company's own patented waterborne technologies. And, authentic Benjamin Moore colors are available exclusively from Benjamin Moore retailers.
About the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America
Founded in 1884, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America is the premier trade association of professional wall coating contractors. Among the most prominent objectives of the PDCA are the enhancement and further development of the profession and industry. The PDCA represents the interests of more than 15,000 painters and business owners from more than 2,000 painting and decorating firms. Visit www.pdca.org for more information.