February 2024

COVID’s Impact on JE Dunn

If silver linings could be found during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy Phelps, Community Impact Director at JE Dunn Construction, was determined to find them.  

The pandemic, Phelps said, opened doors for increased engagement in JE Dunn’s Community Impact and philanthropy efforts. In the first few months of the pandemic, JE Dunn offered a two-to-one donation match for COVID relief efforts through a newly launched Employee Match Program. In just under two months, JE Dunn and its employees contributed nearly $70,000 to nonprofits across the country.  

With COVID rates rising nationwide, employees reached out for ways to help and connect with each other during lockdown. Employees began to send in stories of good news, and Phelps created an inspiration feed on JE Dunn’s internal website, offering an opportunity to share what is going on in communities to spark joy despite being separated. Stories of inspiration and giving began to flood in.   

“It was absolutely incredible to see our employees’ commitment to giving back and serving others in the face of a global pandemic,” Phelps said. 

The inspiration feed was filled with good news from employees, their friends, families, and neighbors. JE Dunn provided lunch for a variety of organizations across its offices, including for Kansas City Public School leaders who were working to get educational packets to their students while on lockdown.  

Employees in Phoenix installed ceiling devices inside Banner Thunderbird Medical Center overnight, when another vendor was unable to complete the project due to travel restrictions.  

Faced with PPE shortages, JE Dunn employees and their families sewed masks to donate to local hospitals across the country.  

In Minneapolis, employees worked with Allina Health to convert regular patient rooms into makeshift isolation rooms. And in Springfield, Missouri, JE Dunn employees built a 51-bed temporary patient ward at CoxHealth, completing the project in just two weeks.  

Stories from across JE Dunn continued to pour in. CEO Gordon Lansford highlighted several during his company virtual updates. During this time, the Community Impact team launched a Community Ambassador Network, calling on employees in offices across the company to coordinate local community efforts.  

As pandemic restrictions eased, JE Dunn’s commitment to impacting local communities continued to expand. National campaigns were introduced, like National Volunteer Week, suicide prevention and awareness efforts, and the JE Dunn Has Heart initiative.  

“I continue to be inspired by the response of our leadership and employees to the pandemic, choosing compassion, hope, and action over fear,” said Phelps. “Their commitment continues to extend across the nation, making a difference in the communities we live, work, and build. This is the magic of JE Dunn.”  

JE Dunn’s founder, Ernie Dunn, wanted to build a company based on giving back and serving others. That culture is still alive and well today, and the COVID-19 pandemic response is an example of the philanthropic heart that embodies JE Dunn and its employees.