28 May Community Spotlight – Idan Shpizear of 911 Restoration
Community Spotlight is a series of posts showcasing the efforts of others in the nonprofit space who are making a positive difference in the world. This week we interview Idan Shpizear, co-founder and CEO of 911 Restoration, a restoration service with dozens of locations in the U.S. and Canada. Idan recently initiated a partnership between 911 Restoration and Brighter Children as a way to give back.
Tell Us About Yourself:
Hi, my name is Idan, and I’m originally from Israel. I was raised on a small farm, and after my Israeli military service, I decided to move to LA. In my mind, every house in America had a pool, and money grew on trees. As soon as you land, you get a car, right?
I came here with my business partner Peleg, and each one of us brought $1,500. Somehow, we found a place to rent, bought a 1978 Volvo, and found a carpet cleaning job. After a while, we started our own carpet cleaning service, which became 911 Restoration. We have 66 locations, and throughout the years, we were also involved in other businesses like kiosks and startups. Now, I’m married and have three kids, twin girls and one boy.
How Did You Hear About Brighter Children?
I’m a big believer in childhood education and health care, and I know that if we find a way to educate our kids in a smarter way, and give them better tools to deal with life in a more “positive” way, we’ll have the power to produce real change in the world. In terms of finding Brighter Children, I first asked one of our employees to find a foundation that helps to educate children internationally — she gave me a list of a few foundations to review, and I saw the Brighter Children website, talked with the founder, Kunal, and saw the passion of the organization. I felt an immediate connection and knew that we would support Brighter Children.
I wanted to join people who made a real impact, not a huge organization where it’s easy to get lost. I was looking for an organization making a real impact with the children, and I’d love to take a trip with you all sometime. I loved feeling the passion from everyone, and it’s contagious.
What Was Your Next Step After Finding Brighter Children?
After hearing Kunal’s story and why he started it, I asked one of my assistants to do some due diligence, and everything checked out. One compelling part is that every $400 donated sends a child to school for a year. My overall goal is to create an engine that keeps going, not just a one-time deal. Like my business, I want “giving back” to be a huge part of our culture. For example, for ever big milestone, we could support an additional child. We would love to have a picture of each child in our office.
You Recently Had A Big Event With The Focus On Giving Back, Correct?
We recently had all of our franchisees fly in for a company conference. We talked about the brand success and our plan for the next 12 months. This year, I decided to really emphasize “giving back” as part of the convention. I spoke about it at the opening, about giving back, encouraging franchisees to give to communities and charities. We also started “Be The Fresh Start Foundation” as our charity arm, which began with our business’ motto — we deal not only with physical restoration but emotional restoration.
The second evening, we had a casino night. Everyone had $50 to start with, and any additional funds went to the Be The Fresh Start Foundation. We had prizes like tshirts and equipment. One of the organizations we support through our foundation is Brighter Children. My hope is that one day we’ll be able to send a portion of every client invoice to the Be The Fresh Start Foundation.
Tell Us More About Your Involvement In The Community.
I’d love to. Youth Business Alliance is a group that focuses on poor areas in LA. Once a week, they bring in a local business owner to talk to the kids, show them opportunities and tell their story. The idea is to connect with kids and open their mind.
Unfortunately, they often hear “I can’t,” “there’s nothing you can do”, or “the world hates you”. When I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, the most common professions are a rapper or police officer. The alliance was created to show them what other kinds of opportunities exist.
I go every so often and speak to the kids to tell them the power of making a choice. Towards the end, the last 10 minutes, we have kids write down their dreams. Then, I tell them to read it every morning, believe it or not, I get emails from those same kids kids. A year later, their dreams are to be doctors, developers, and entrepreneurs. I see how it opens their mind to new opportunities.
Within 911 Restoration, one franchisee helps supports local schools in Virginia, and we help by donating equipment. One franchisee in SC works with kids who have autism, and we help through donations. This is where real fulfillment comes from. I can close the biggest sale, but if I get an email from a kid who I’ve impacted, that’s far more rewarding than that sale I just closed. A big part of why we’re here is to make the world a better place.
Along with my co-founder Peleg Lindenberg, and our CMO Miri Offir, we’re sharing the passion of giving back with the rest of our 911 Restoration family