Signature Program: Community Matters
GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, has always played a vital role in helping homeowners “protect what matters most.” With nearly 30 plant locations across the US and a presence on more residential and commercial roofs than any other product, GAF is ubiquitous—yet few know the name. As GAF developed and launched a new purpose—We protect what matters most—in early 2018, the company partnered with CCOP to develop a social impact program to bring that purpose to life. GAF sought to more deeply engage each of its plant communities and their workforce, while continuing long-time commitments to disaster relief.
Through extensive research, stakeholder interviews, employee workshops, and competitive benchmarking, the CCOP team began “connecting the dots” between GAF’s capabilities, the passion of its employees, and urgent social needs including a severe shortage of skilled workers. Core to this discovery work was a national index, based on Census data, which revealed that 90% of GAF’s plant communities were economically and socially “distressed.” This became the grounding insight behind Community Matters, a social impact program designed to provide a flexible framework for engagement in each plant community. The pilot community, Shafter, California, allowed the CCOP and GAF teams to pressure-test this novel approach, and in early 2019 we began conducting working sessions with GAF employees and community leaders to determine the area of greatest need.
Through our work in Shafter, we discovered that the beloved Shafter Learning Center & Library was in need of expansion and revitalization (including a new roof). CCOP identified, vetted, and engaged Project for Public Spaces, a New York-based international nonprofit with extensive expertise in public “placemaking.” Together, the PPS, CCOP, and GAF teams engaged the Shafter community in public workshops to learn how the Learning Center could be improved. Beyond the physical improvements to the Learning Center, which were completed in early 2022, GAF hopes to help improve long-term educational outcomes in the Shafter community.