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Residential Department: Helping Hands: September 2010


Helping Hands

Professionals making a difference


Frank McKinney


Badwater Ultramarathon


Lone Pine, Calif.


McKinney, a luxury real estate developer and investor, founded Caring House Project Foundation in 1998 to create opportunity for the desperately poor and homeless, particularly in Haiti. The foundation funds and builds self-sufficient housing projects.

McKinney says he started the foundation after seeing a picture of a homeless man who looked a lot like him. The photo was in the same day's newspaper that featured one of McKinney's lavish developments. "I realized I needed to think a little less about the 'I' and the 'me' and a little more about the 'us' and the 'we,'" he recalls.


Helping Hands RES0910

This past July, McKinney completed his fifth Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile invitational footrace from Death Valley to the base of Mount Whitney. National Geographic Adventure magazine called the event, which begins 280 feet below sea level and ends at nearly 8,300 feet above, the toughest race in the world.

McKinney sought race sponsorships of $1 or more per mile for Caring House Project Foundation and said he finished this year's Badwater in a personal-best 40 hours and 20 minutes. He raised about $25,000 through this year's race, according to foundation executive director Kimberley Trombly-Burmeister.

The foundation also raises money through luxury real estate tours coupled with excursions to some of the villages it helped build in the developing world. "We came up with this idea to show people the dichotomy in life," McKinney says. "Just like they get to touch a $300-a-yard carpet, they get to touch the hand of a child who was living in a cardboard box just a couple of months ago."

The foundation raises about $500,000 annually, according to Trombly-Burmeister.


By the end of this year, Caring House Project Foundation will have provided shelter for 6,800 homeless people around the world, according to McKinney. The $25,000 he raised through this year's Badwater Ultramarathon sponsorships is enough to build 10 homes for the poor, according to the foundation.

In addition to Haiti, the foundation has worked in Honduras, Indonesia, Africa and the United States, said Trombly-Burmeister.

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Darrick Meneken was an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. For questions on this article, call (800)297-6061 or e-mail

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