On a sunny day, last June, HGTV personality and host of Backyard Builds Brian McCourt joined Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga at our first-ever playhouse build. The build, which spanned three days and saw teams working to design, construct and decorate wooden playhouses according to predetermined themes, was a huge hit with Habitat’s first corporate donor who took part, CUMIS Insurance, raising funds for local home building. Since then, our playhouse build has become an exciting mobile team-building experience, and Brian has been by our side as a huge supporter of our organization.
Brian was 19-years-old when he first entered the world of DIY and home renovations. He gathered investments from family and friends, started his own renovation and design business, and began renovating and flipping properties. After establishing his business, Brian partnered with HGTV to develop his show, Backyard Builds.
A few years ago, Brian was painting a deck when he began to think more about what he was doing. “I would see people on the street that were desperate for help, people who were struggling to support their families, people who were completely out of luck. I would walk by so I could spend the day painting a deck,” he recalled.
“Painting the deck felt superficial and unimportant compared to the things I was turning a blind eye to. I questioned my line of work and was at a crossroads. When I shared my thoughts with a friend she said, ‘You know, you put your time in now so you can build a platform for yourself to make an impactful difference in the future.’ Even though she was biased because it was her deck that she wanted me to finish, she was 100 percent right! I’m so lucky to be in a position today where I can give back in an industry that I love. It’s just one of the many reasons why Habitat is the perfect fit for me.”
In addition to supporting Habitat’s playhouse builds, Brian has been a huge supporter of Habitat’s ReVive Centre. ReVive, which opened last year, is an exclusive upcycling facility that gives volunteers and corporate teams the chance to add a DIY touch to donated materials and products, which then go to sale in a Habitat ReStore. It’s the only facility of its kind for Habitat, and we’re super excited about its growth so far.
Brian has created prototypes of future projects, in a simpler version that volunteers and corporate teams could follow, donated to ReStore and done interviews to help raise awareness about Habitat. He also recently filmed some promotional videos in ReVive, which Habitat’s team is very excited to share as per our recent teaser of some ‘behind the scenes’ excitement:
“It is so extremely helpful to partner with someone so successful and respected in their field,” said Tara Petch, Habitat’s Director of New Business Development. “He gives Habitat initiatives like ReVive so much credibility, and also allows us to deliver unique experiences as part of corporate team building and volunteer engagement, for a great cause.”
Raising awareness is very important to Habitat. Brian is helping share our story, while at the same time teaching us a lot about DIY projects that we can create in our workshop.
Petch says Habitat is “very grateful” for our partnership with Brian. “We are so excited about the future and continuing to work with Brian,” she said. “He’s very generous and just a cool guy. He’s extremely down to Earth, super creative and talented. He’s definitely a little gift sent to us.”
For Brian, making a difference with Habitat has a personal connection. “I grew up in a family of seven kids, and we didn’t have a lot, and if something had happened to one of my parents, we would have been homeless,” he said. “Luckily that didn’t happen, and we had a decent upbringing, but it’s just important to remember that it could be you, or it could be someone you know. Why not help out if you can?”
Check out Brian on HGTV’s Backyard Builds and Home to Win, and check out more of his amazing work on his Instagram and website. On behalf of everyone at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, thank you, Brian, for your continued partnership and support!