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Habitat for Humanity International recognizes U.S. affiliates, volunteers with its “Pioneer” awards

ATLANTA (Jan. 22, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity International presented seven “Pioneers in Excellence” awards to Habitat affiliates and volunteers who demonstrated productivity, innovation and creativity in the efforts to eliminate substandard housing.

Affiliate of the Year awards
One affiliate in each of three categories was recognized for extraordinary accomplishments in advancing Habitat for Humanity’s mission:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte received the Affiliate of the Year award for its service in a community with a population greater than 250,000. The Charlotte affiliate, which commemorated its 25th anniversary in 2008, built 61 local homes and gave $369,453 to build Habitat houses in overseas. Since 1993, HFH Charlotte has committed to contribute the equivalent construction cost of one home in El Salvador for every home that is built in Charlotte. Last year the affiliate completed the “Charlotte Model Community” in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

    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 received the award for affiliates serving communities of 50,000–250,000 people. Our Towns HFH serves four communities in the Davidson, North Carolina area, near Charlotte. The success of a credit counseling program, youth projects and a strong tithe commitment helped make this affiliate a top choice. Our Towns HFH built 15 houses locally and gave $215,146 in 2008 to build homes overseas. They have set a goal to serve 800 families locally and in Guatemala during the next five years.
  • Appalachia Habitat for Humanity, which serves Scott and Morgan counties in Tennessee, was voted the Affiliate of the Year award for affiliates serving communities under 50,000 people. The Appalachia affiliate, which built nine local homes and gave $12,000 in 2008 to build homes overseas, seeks to restore pride and stability in the community.

Clarence Jordan awards

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 seven other nonprofit organizations in the community, all of which operate resale stores, to completely furnish and decorate a 3,000-square-foot model home. The home was made available by a local builder. Proceeds from ticket sales to tour the home and from the sale of the furnishings riased $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.

Volunteer of the Year awards

Two awards were given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to advance the mission of Habitat for Humanity:

  • Dyttha Gallagher, nominated by Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County (South Bend, Indiana area) was honored for organizing a World Build, which she envisioned would allow immigrants like her to give back to the community by building a Habitat home. 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 (east coast of 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.

“Habitat for Humanity is able to take significant strides across the United States because generous partners are supporting our work, and hundreds of U.S. affiliates are working so vigorously to reach more families in need of homes,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The ‘Pioneer in Excellence’ awards give us the chance to recognize those extraordinary efforts and to say thank you for the innovation, faith and compassion with which people pursue and fulfill our mission every day.”

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit