At Budget Blinds of Lee’s Summit, the definition of “family” is broad.
For Debbie and Jim Stoddard, two of the owners of the business, family includes anyone in their community who is in need. Serving and helping community has been their mission since opening in 2002.
In February, the family and Budget Blinds were nationally recognized for their support and contribution to Hope House, one of many organizations they support with their fundraising and service projects.
Hope House, which was founded in 1984, provides comprehensive services to thousands of domestic violence victims every year.
In recognition of their partnership with Hope House, the Stoddards received a Budget Blinds Cares award from Home Franchise Concepts, the parent organization of the national franchise network. The award was presented for a video they submitted for the 2018 Budget Blind Cares Challenge.
Out of hundreds of videos submitted for the national challenge, Budget Blinds of Lee’s Summit received an award for creativity. And the family, predictably, donated the $1,000 prize to Hope House.
In the five years since their partnership with Hope House began, the family has raised more than $58,000 for the nonprofit.
Courtney Stoddard Laufketter, daughter of Debbie and Jim and also one of the owners, has led the Hope House projects and initiatives, which includes the Twelve Bars of Christmas, an annual pub crawl.
“Courtney is an amazing woman,” said MaryAnne Metheny, Hope House CEO.
“Her drive has been to help us, and when she sets her mind to something, she does it. We would not be able to do what we do, without this type of support from the community.”
Debbie and Jim Stoddard started Budget Blinds with Richard and Gloria Guthrie, Debbie’s parents.
Over the past 17 years, the list of organizations benefiting from the Budget Blinds family is extensive. Those groups include Lee’s Summit Social Service, Coldwater, the Pancreatic Cancer Network and Home for Our Troops.
Courtney Stoddard Laufketter, [foreground] and Angie Tuck, development database administrator at Hope House, , now 30, was 17 when she began working in the family business.
In addition to leading many of Budget Blinds’ community outreach projects, she is also a full-time design consultant and marketing specialist for the company.
“Giving back has always been part of the culture of our family,” she said, adding that her charitable work has helped her be more compassionate.
“Being part of the community has also helped me grow as a person. I didn’t just grow up here. It helped me grow.”