Olympia Homebuilder Shares Success With Local Charities

Years ago, Rob Rice Homes owners, and husband and wife team, Rob and Helena Rice sat down with one goal in mind: to make their philanthropic efforts as meaningful as possible. 

“People saw we were sponsoring and donating money throughout the community, and we were getting a call a week looking for a contribution,” Helena says. “We sat down to prioritize what matters to us, as a business and a family.” 

The pair came to two conclusions. First, they wanted to focus on local charities. Secondly, they wanted to help children and animals. 

“We pick up dogs on the side of the road,” Helena says with a chuckle. “It’s not uncommon for Rob to call me, ‘I have a dog in the car – what do you want to do?’”

They were thrilled to discover Concern For Animals, an Olympia-based animal welfare service that helps pet owners struggling financially. CFA’s services include a pet food bank, veterinary assistance and help for owners who are experiencing abuse or homelessness. Their mission to keep pets with their families struck a chord with the Rices, leading them to participate in the annual Toast For Tails auction.

“They asked for help with water damage in their old food bank building. Rob walked in and decided to build them a whole new space,” says Helena. “Our vendors and partners all came together to help, and we were able to do it as a gift.” Rob Rice Homes is also a proud sponsor of a number of youth sports teams, as well as a regular donor to Providence St. Peter Foundation, where Rob is on the board of directors. This past holiday season, they worked with The Salvation Army Olympia Corps, raising $10,389 – more than double their goal. 

“We like national charities, but we want to act locally,” says Helena. “This community has given us so much. Giving back is the least we can do.” 

Rob Rice Homes communities can be found throughout Thurston County. To learn more about their work, visit www.RobRiceHomes.com. 

Welcoming Robin Houde to the WCWB

The Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) is pleased to announce that  Robin Houde has assumed the position of Program Manager for the Washington Center for  Women in Business (WCWB.) The Washington Center for Women in Business is a program whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed in business by providing coaching, training, and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics. The WCWB is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Houde brings a diverse background of education, small business management and marketing experience. Houde began as a volunteer with the WCWB, and accepted the role of Administrative Specialist at the WCWB in March of 2020. She was then named Creative Strategist in May 2020.  

A Thurston County local, Houde is well connected and brings an existing network to the WCWB. She handles marketing and outreach, manages the social media and program oversight of Let’s Talk Business, and offers social media, branding and design coaching. As an Evergreen State College student, she focused the first half of her degree on psychology and health sciences while transitioning her second half towards business and community outreach. 

“I am passionate about building meaningful community relationships and serving the public and  I’m so excited to be able to help provide the resources and guidance to empower women  entrepreneurs,” says Houde. Thurston County is excited to have her on the team, and is looking forward to her work in the near future!