( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Core & Main CIO Carrie Busbee Started Bike Donation
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Core & Main is a national distributor of water, wastewater storm draining, and fire protection products. The Core & Main CIO and Embrace Families Board Member, Carrie Busbee started a donation opportunity that would help Embrace Families, a nonprofit agency for child welfare and foster care. She worked with Embrace Families Director of Community Engagement, Morgan Clement Donovan, and West Orange’s Executive Director Nikki Riggsbee to coordinate the distribution.
The IT division of Core & Main made a special donation delivered to Embrace Families. They raised money and purchased 18 new bicycles and helmets. They assembled the bikes at Grand Bonnet Creek and gave them to the West Orange Service Center. The key objective is to provide as much “normalcy” as possible for children. Embrace Families is located in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County. We have interviewed Carrie Busbee about the idea of starting this bike donation, the impact it has on the families, her journey into becoming a board member, and how the relationship between Core & Main and Embrace Families began.
Tell us a little about yourself, your role with Core & Main, and what made you decide to start this donation within Embrace Families.
I lead the information technology team at Core & Main as the chief information officer. My team resides throughout the country. Standard philanthropic efforts involve remote events or challenges, but when we decided to come together for our first all-team meeting in five years, we decided it was a perfect time to give back “in person.” The meeting site was Orlando, and so we had the privilege to donate locally.
When did you become a board member with Embrace Families, and how has the connection grown stronger over the years?
I’ve been an Embrace Families board member since August 2022. I chose Embrace Families because the mission is worthy and on target. Enabling strong families enables strong communities. Every child deserves a safe, stable, and loving home. Embrace Families not only ensures that children in foster care are well-served and supported, but they focus on strengthening families, eliminating the root causes that drive the need for children to be a part of the foster care system.
Tell us a little about Core & Main, its mission, and its involvement with the Embrace Families bike donation.
Core & Main exists to build strong communities. Core & Main is a leading specialized distributor of water, wastewater, storm drainage fire protection products, and related services. Operating approximately 320 branches nationwide, we combine local expertise with a national supply chain to provide contractors and municipalities with innovative solutions for new construction and aging infrastructure.
Core & Main’s 4,500 associates are committed to helping their communities thrive with safe and sustainable infrastructure. Our vision is to foster a world where communities thrive because our people and products provide safe, sustainable infrastructure for generations to come. Investing in our communities is at the core of our mission.
We challenge our associates to find creative ways to live out that mission in our local communities. I saw the bike donation as a way to enable the entire team to participate while we came together for team building. We leveraged Leaders Institute’s Build-a-Bike program to help us build teamwork and build the bikes!
How did Core & Main and Embrace Families’ business relationship occur?
We knew we wanted to help Embrace Families, but we were unsure in what ways. Morgan Clement and Maureen Brockman helped my team brainstorm ways we might give. They were open to anything that could benefit the kids and their families. We landed on the bicycle team building event because it fit within my team meeting time constraints and providing a tangible outcome that we could celebrate, and Embrace Families could coordinate with flexibility.
Tell us about the people involved in assembling the bikes and their efforts.
Our team that built the bikes included just over 100 information technology professionals. We are made up of all different skills, from service desk analysts who help our nationwide associates with personal computer issues to system engineers and developers who write software that serves our customers and associates. Although we are mostly engineers in our job duties, only one or two of us had ever “worked on a bike.” We were delighted when the Build-a-Bike program assured us we could do it. They walked us through, step-by-step, in a game-like fashion, which made the building fun and the outcomes high quality.
What was the impact of donating bikes to the families?
The bikes were donated right as school was ending, so many of the children who received one were able to ride it all summer. And several sibling groups received them, enabling them to enjoy the bikes together. That promoted bonding and strengthened sibling relationships. It also encouraged kids to engage in healthy physical activity. At the end of summer, Embrace Families still had a few bikes left, so staff were able to surprise more families with gifts at the agency’s back-to-school distribution event. It’s an item many children love to have, but it’s not affordable for many families served by Embrace Families.
Explain your collaboration between Morgan Clement Donovan and Nikki Riggsbee with this donation.
Morgan Clement is the community engagement director at Embrace Families. She attended the bike-building event to talk with Core & Main staff about the work done by Embrace Families and how it serves the families who would receive the bikes. Nikki Riggsbee is the executive director of Embrace Families’ West Orange Service Center, where she oversees case management services and program delivery to families. Nikki stored the bikes so case managers could access them whenever they learned of a child who needed one and assisted with distribution.
For more information about Embrace Families and how to support vulnerable children and families, visit www.embracefamilies.org. To know more about Core & Main visit https://coreandmain.com/. Follow Embrace Families on Instagram to view their foster care service details.