Paint the Town
Paint the Town is a program within Give Back Cincinnati, a local nonprofit. Each year we go into a neighborhood, and identify homeowners that are physically or financially unable to paint their own homes. We paint the exterior of multiple homes in single day at no cost to the homeowners, thanks to corporate sponsors that provide funding and volunteers who provide labor. This event has painted approximately 550 homes since 2002, accumulating over 81,000 volunteer hours.
Paint the Town 2023
Mark your calendars now, we will be painting homes in Ludlow and Bromely KY on Saturday June 10th. Volunteer registration will open in early May.
What is this “Paint the Town”?
Paint the Town is a daylong event that engages more than 1,000 volunteers to rejuvenate homes in need of a little TLC. Painting a mass of homes in a concentrated area can truly serve as a catalyst to lift up a community. Neighborhoods are chosen according to need, and qualified homeowners are encouraged to apply for the service. Community groups are instrumental in spreading the word about Paint the Town. Volunteers work in teams led by experienced team leaders to paint a house. If needed, houses are prepped for painting prior to the day of the event. Volunteers are provided with breakfast, lunch, drinking water, a team T-shirt, and painting supplies. Volunteer sign-ups take place each spring. Paint the Town has painted nearly 500 houses in the communities of Westwood, Norwood, College Hill, East End, Price Hill (twice), Northside, Madisonville, Hartwell/Carthage, and Avondale and Evanston in Ohio, and Latonia, Covington, Bellevue and Dayton in Kentucky… and we’re just getting started.
Why Paint houses?
Our community is a sum of its total, and our housing is a big part of that equation. Our houses are our homes, a place that we share memories and grow in community with our neighbors. Houses require a tremendous amount of upkeep and things like painting a house can be an overwhelming financial cost for many members of our community. Painting a home can give a renewed sense of pride to the homeowner, improve the image of the neighborhood and serve as a catalyst for community improvement. Through service we are able to provide an incredible team building experience for corporations to get out of the office and into the community, helping others. This event also is a great way to introduce many new faces to the type of work Give Back does all year round in Cincinnati.
Paint the Town started in a little town to the North known for automobiles and hockey, Detroit, Michigan. The event has grown over several decades and more than 5000 homes have been painted since 2001. Corporate sponsors gather teams and now paint up to 40 homes in a single day. One of Give Back’s early leaders, Rob Porter, brought his experiences from Detroit to Cincinnati and kick-started Paint the Town Cincinnati. In year one, generous sponsors like Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, Alpine Valley and others helped the group tackle four homes in the East End. Like all good things Give Back, we started small and then grew…and grew. As this event grew, it was apparent that it required year-round planning so a permanent committee was formed to organize the event, led by Brent Nawroth. A team works year-round to ensure that the big day is an excellent, meaningful day that has a secure foundation for future growth….and yes this is done by ALL VOLUNTEERS. Give Back Cincinnati asks volunteers to paint these homes with the same tender loving care that they would employ on their own homes (like every event we do). We are not professional painters but will paint the homes with attention to detail. Give Back Cincinnati is committed to having a turn-key event which requires that the volunteers simply show-up. GBC will have the supplies, t-shirts, food, and everything else required for an excellent day. We aim to continue growing this event to a size and scope that maintains the spirit and quality of the event.
Can I volunteer for half the day?
Due to the nature of the event, we’re not able to accommodate half-day painting volunteers. Please plan to spend the entire day with us. Volunteers must attend morning registration (you’ll get directions the week before the event) to get their house assignment, sign a waiver and hear announcements. Buses transport volunteers to their assigned houses. Lunch is provided on-site. Because of the number of volunteers helping out, we’re not able to transport individual volunteers throughout the day. However, we do need non-painting volunteers for specific tasks, such as set up, parking direction, registration, lunch delivery, supply sorting at return, after party help (serving food and drinks), and after party clean up. Opportunities including areas and times, will be posted with the online registration.
Is it OK if I volunteer with my child?
We do have very limited volunteer opportunities for children. Unfortunately, no volunteers under 18 are permitted at the houses. We’ll be working with ladders, scrapers and other equipment at Paint the Town. To ensure safe worksites for all our volunteers, we cannot permit those under age 18 at the homes. However, we would love help with parking direction in the morning, delivering lunches and sorting of supplies at return. We can accept volunteers over the age of 10, with the presence of a parent or other adult at the volunteer site.
Can I drive myself to my team’s house?
Unfortunately not. For many reasons, volunteers are not allowed to drive themselves to their team’s house. First, parking is tight in many of the neighborhoods. Your team lead and other event organizers will need to park at the house, and we want to leave the neighbors some parking spots, as well. Second, we will be using many tall ladders, and they don't mix well with cars. The more room we have to maneuver ladders, the better, and we can avoid accidentally installing a moon roof in your vehicle. Third, who doesn't want to ride a big yellow school bus? If you're first on, you can sit in the back with the cool kids.
Should I volunteer if I don’t want to climb a ladder?
Yes! There’s plenty of “low” work to do at Paint the Town. When you register on our website, just indicate the ladder height you’re comfortable with. If you are a general volunteer, we may steer you toward a house without lots of high la dder work.
What if I don’t have a corporate “team” to paint on?
No problem! If you’re a “general” volunteer for Paint the Town, you might wor k alongside corporate team members, you might work on a house whose sponsor hasn ’t provided a team, or you might work on a house Give Back Cincinnati sponsored.
What should I wear and bring with me to volunteer?
Wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint on, including shoes that cover your whole foot (no sandals or flip-flops). Wear a hat to shade your face from the s un and keep paint off your hair. Definitely bring sunscreen (you can put it in a backpack to set on the porch or lawn). You’ll want a little money and your driv er’s license in your pocket for the after party, but lock the rest of your valua bles in your car. Every volunteer will be provided with a t-shirt to wear with a ll of the sponsor logos on it.
What about breakfast and lunch?
Breakfast (with coffee) will be available during registration. Lunch will be delivered to you at your house, and houses also will have snacks and water. If you have any special dietary needs, please plan to bring your own lunch.