Twin Cities gala raises funds to raise hope -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Twin Cities gala raises funds to raise hope


At Wednesday night's gala dinner in St. Paul, Minnesota, former President Jimmy Carter speaks about how Habitat for Humanity brings people together to help build strong communities. Habitat for Humanity International/Jody Smith


Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford speaks during the gala, launching the "A World of Hope: It starts at home" capital campaign. Habitat for Humanity International/Jody Smith


By Lurma Rackley

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity kicked off its “A World of Hope: It starts at home” capital campaign at a gala dinner Wednesday night in St. Paul’s River Center. A crowd of about 1,500 people gathered to celebrate the 27th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project and to help Habitat recognize homeowners, donors, volunteers and faith partners for their tireless efforts.

Former President Jimmy Carter, the honored guest, said that a basic tenet of all religions “is for the rich and powerful, the secure and fortunate to reach out a helping hand to those in need.” Habitat, he said, provides that vehicle and brings people together to work on decent, affordable housing – the foundation of strong communities.

Former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad also spoke passionately about Habitat’s work. “President Kennedy said it best: ‘Here on Earth, God’s work must be our own.’ We thank you for doing God’s work here in the Twin Cities.”

Twin Cities Habitat President Susan Haigh shared highlights of the campaign. She thanked General Mills and Wells Fargo for kicking off “A World of Hope” with $750,000 and $1 million, respectively.

Other notable campaign gifts have come from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans ($2.5 million), and from philanthropists Mary Lynn and Warren Staley ($1 million) and Janet and Brad Anderson ($1 million). In all, donors have committed $16 million to the campaign, 44 percent of the goal of $36 million, to be raised by 2014.

Campaign co-chair Mary Lynn Staley encouraged the audience to increase support to Habitat so more families can move into safe, affordable housing in the Twin Cities and around the world.

Also speaking were former Vice President Walter Mondale; Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford; Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills; John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co.; and Brad Hewitt, president and CEO of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. T. Mychael Rambo performed musical selections, and news anchorwoman Julie Nelson served as emcee.

Lurma Rackley is managing editor/writer for Development Communications for Habitat for Humanity International.