Everything was right. The charity had been carefully selected. The designers had an exciting plan. Funds had been raised. They just needed to make some final decisions to start the work, and sweet Dutton Farm in Rochester, Michigan, would be receiving a new kitchen and multi-purpose space that would meet the needs requested a few months earlier. But something was off- and it wasn’t just a little something, because everyone felt it… it was a big something.
So, everything changed.
“And that’s the beauty of DFAD. We’re flexible,” says Matt Pfeiffer, IDG showroom sponsor and owner of Northern Flooring and Interiors in Lake Orion. “Design for a Difference is simple: We want to improve charity spaces. In this case, when it came time to make the magic happen, there was an entirely new set of needs that would have a greater impact.”
So in lieu of executing the original design plan, Matt and the DFAD Detroit design team decided to donate 100% of the funds they had raised to now go towards much-needed structural improvements. The decision resulted in a HUGE success.
“Any dollar we raise to help a charity; the better. Yet how we ultimately spend it, may change in the course of a DFAD project. In this case, it worked out better than we ever could have imagined,” Matt admits. “They are such a great group of people, and the farmers steal your heart every time you are with them; they just rock.”
And Matt is right. Dutton Farm is rocking the motor city by giving adults with special needs a vocational program that teaches them skills, finds them employment, and gives them a sense of community in a beautiful farm setting north of the city.
Started in 2010 by a hard-working mom of five and sister to a special needs sibling, Dutton has become a superstar non-profit, serving up to 50 farmers on a monthly basis and changing lives in a loving way every day. What’s their secret? Their delectable line of bath and body products that are made on location by the farmers themselves.
“We include our farmers in every step of the process,” explains Director of Marketing, Kayte McDonough. “And it’s important to create products that people will use, as naturally as possible, with ingredients that we grow here on the farm.” Those ingredients include fragrant herbs like calendula, rosemary, and lavender, and are combined with essential oils and wax to create to-die-for candles, soaps, butters, and balms that will leave you feeling fabulous after every use.
With the catchphrase, “All natural. All abilities. All around the world,” Dutton has just recently opened their e-commerce store in addition to their local retail commitments and it has become a big hit. Which is why their needs have changed: They have reached capacity and certain upgrades were essential to making their space safe and accessible for the farmers year round. You see, Dutton is composed of a small house and a barn, both of which get equal use with daily product operations. Traveling between the two can be difficult during long Michigan winters, so connecting the two had become imperative to continue their work.
Thanks to the funds provided by DFAD Detroit, Dutton now has a spacious breezeway that has seamlessly created a safe and accessible passage between the two buildings. It has also become the main point of entry to the charity, complete with a little reception area and product display, making it the perfect spot for Kayte to work, greet, or assist farmers throughout the day.
“This addition has expanded our space in a way that is better for everyone. People are amazed at the difference it makes, and we are already seeing an increase in excitement when we open our store in the barn,” adds Kayte. “DFAD contributions stretched even further by funding additional concrete in the barn, providing even more space to work and store products.”
The future looks bright for Dutton Farm. Kayte has shared the exciting news, “fundraising efforts for the next year are focused on securing major companies who want to sell their products. There are at least 60 more farmers (adults with special needs) waiting to join their team, and there is talk of purchasing a larger property that can support their growth.”
All of us at DFAD wish them all the best in this endeavor and invite you to support their efforts by purchasing some of their bath and body products. You will be amazed by luxurious aroma and quality of their line; it’s no wonder people are lining up to put it on their shelves.
The work being accomplished through Dutton is making a difference in the lives of their farmers, their families, and the community by loving, teaching, and bringing purpose to those in need. We are so thrilled that Matt and his DFAD Detroit team were able to be responsive and flexible in allowing Design For A Difference to make the greatest impact.