banner image
Field notes: June 2009 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Field notes: June 2009

Perspectives from around Habitat’s world

Pioneer spirit: Habitat for Humanity affiliates, volunteers recognized for excellence

By Pam Campbell

Habitat for Humanity International presented seven “Pioneers in Excellence” awards at January’s U.S. national conference to Habitat affiliates and volunteers demonstrating productivity, innovation and creativity in their efforts to eliminate substandard housing.

One affiliate in each of three categories was recognized with the Affiliate of the Year Award:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte built 61 local homes and gave $369,453 to build Habitat houses overseas. Since 1993, Habitat Charlotte has committed to contribute the equivalent construction cost of one home in El Salvador for every home that is built in Charlotte. Through its Critical Home Repair program in Charlotte, the affiliate also sought to serve local, low-income homeowners who need urgent home repairs.
  • Our Towns of Lake Norman Habitat for Humanity serves four communities in North Carolina with a credit counseling program and youth projects in addition to its house-building work. Our Towns Habitat built 15 houses locally and gave $215,146 in 2008 to build homes overseas.
  • Appalachia Habitat for Humanity, which serves Scott and Morgan counties in Tennessee, built nine local homes and gave $12,000 in 2008 to build homes overseas.

In addition, awards were given to two affiliates that demonstrated creativity or innovation in their work. Henderson County Habitat for Humanity in western North Carolina was recognized for its “Frugal Design Home Showcase,” developed to raise funds and to promote awareness for its two ReStores.

The affiliate joined with other nonprofit organizations in the community to furnish and decorate a model home made available by a local builder. Proceeds from ticket sales to tour the home and from the sale of the furnishings raised $17,000 for the affiliate. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles was recognized for its “Nickels for Nails” campaign, which mobilized youth ages 5–25 to raise funds for a Habitat home. More than 10,000 youth raised almost $116,000 through ongoing efforts and special fund drives.

Two awards were given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to advancing Habitat’s mission. Dyttha Gallagher, nominated by Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County in Indiana, was honored for organizing a World Build. Gallagher mobilized a committee that coordinated the build, raised funds and recruited community residents of diverse nationalities, faiths and cultural backgrounds.

Sue Croom, nominated by Indian River Habitat for Humanity in Florida, won the volunteer award for her leadership in Habitat’s Women Build program. Affiliate leaders say that Croom’s efforts have added more than 100 new women volunteers who support the affiliate in a number of ways.



Create a lasting impression: share your stories of volunteers, supporters with Habitat World

The success of Habitat for Humanity is firmly in the hands of its volunteers and supporters—the hands that wield the hammers, write advocacy letters and e-mails, make donations, and welcome future homeowners. In the December 2009 issue of Habitat World, we will celebrate the many ways that so many people make Habitat happen around the globe.

Just like we need your help to build houses, we need your help to build this special issue. Whether you are a Habitat affiliate staff member, homeowner or volunteer, we are asking you to share your stories. Tell us about someone you know who always goes the extra mile on the build site, someone who always has the most innovative ideas for fundraising and awareness-building, someone who forges lasting relationships within the Habitat family. Your affiliate and its star volunteers just might appear in our pages.
E-mail your volunteer stories to or write to managing editor Shala Carlson, Habitat World, 270 Peachtree St. NW, Suite 1300, Atlanta, GA, 30303.

Four-star stewardship: independent evaluator Charity Navigator rates Habitat’s fiscal management

By Pam Campbell

Once again, Habitat for Humanity International has been given a four-star rating for sound fiscal management by Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator.

Approximately 5,000 organizations examined annually by Charity Navigator are evaluated on how responsibly they function and how well they can sustain programs over time. The four-star rating—the highest possible—indicates that Habitat consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

“We are proud to receive this four-star rating,” says Mark Crozet, Habitat International’s senior vice president for development. “Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to being good stewards of our resources and to helping more families. We are always mindful of the responsibility we have for the resources entrusted to us.”

On average, Habitat serves a low-income family somewhere around the world every 10 minutes through new house construction, major house rehabilitation and house repairs.



Celebration of a life: memorial service honors Habitat founder

In mid-March, family and friends gathered at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church to celebrate the life and work of the late Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity International. Fuller died in early February at the age of 74.

Memorial service speakers included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Dr. Tony Campolo. Members of the Fuller family—including Millard’s wife, Linda, who cofounded Habitat with him—also shared memories. Individuals affected and inspired by Fuller’s dedication to the cause of affordable housing joined in, including Americus, Ga., Habitat homeowner Hattie Pitts Butler. Butler appeared on the cover of the April/May 2001 Habitat World, burning her mortgage papers when her Habitat house was paid off .

Judah Slavkovsky, who grew up in a Habitat house in Sisters, Oregon, addressed the assembled crowd, his personal story a testament to the life-changing power of simple, decent housing. “We left behind a house where, in the wintertime, ice would build up on the insides of the windows and where mold would grow on the walls,” he said. “Now, in a few months, I’ll be graduating a doctor from Harvard Medical School.”

Slavkovsky, whose family story first appeared in Habitat World’s December 2006 issue, already has spent time offering medical care to underserved populations in California, New Mexico and South Africa. He looks forward to the day, he said, “when all God’s children will be free, free in the possession of a home.

“Having a well-built home is transformative, and for me, it was enabling,” he continued. “When there is stability in housing, there is stability in communities. Families who have experienced poverty—who understand deeply the meaning of this word—are freed.”