Community Impact Awards: The Dragas Companies
By Ryan Miller
4538 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach. 757-490-0161. DragasCompanies.com
Number of Employees: 90
What They Do: The Dragas Companies develops condominium communities and affordable homes in Coastal Virginia. As a nationally recognized and an award-winning company, they’ve developed more than 35 communities within the region and have helped more than 7,000 families discover their dream of home ownership.
How They Help: The Dragas Companies takes its role and responsibility as a “community builder” to heart by supporting a wide range of initiatives. First, they see how they can improve the lives of fellow citizens in Coastal Virginia and the generations that will follow them and then where they can begin. For their company, the impact begins with kids.
In 2007 the company donated $1.5 million to help communities fight the growing issue of family homelessness. They then began a partnership with ForKids, the region’s largest organization serving this population. They’ve made an impact on over 47,000 children through its housing programs and extended services, as well as expanding the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline, which responds to 50,000 calls a year. Annually, The Dragas Companies pledges $50,000 to help sponsor ForKids’ annual art auction, while the Dragas family has committed another $500,000 to help the nonprofit build its regional headquarters and family shelter complex in Chesapeake.
With a focus on child and family wellbeing, crisis counseling and navigating the juvenile justice system, The Dragas Companies has also supported CASA, YWCA, Samaritan House, Girls on the Run, Horizons Hampton Roads and Habitat for Humanity. Each year Dragas employees give their time and donate to drives for food, toys and books.
In celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary this year, they’ve made special donations of “50” to many local organizations. Employees donated books for summer reading kits for the Boys and Girls Club to prevent the “summer slide” in learning that’s prevalent for lower-income students during the summer months. They also donated 50 camping packs and 50 school-ready backpacks to ForKids’ summer and back-to-school programs. For the annual Girls on the Run 5K, they created a team while donating 50 pairs of running shoes to girls attending Title I schools.
To our company, community impact looks like: the natural discipline of building a better, more enduring future where we are all connected and where—when one more family is able to thrive—we are all stronger for it.