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‘Pioneers in Excellence’ awards announced by Habitat for Humanity International

U.S. affiliates and volunteers recognized for service and innovation


Volunteers apply caulk on the porch of a blitz build house in Bay St. Louis, Miss.


A volunteer works on a new house, as Habitat for Humanity marks the building of its 300,000th house with an event in Collier County, Fla.


ATLANTA (April 15, 2010) – Habitat for Humanity International recently recognized five Habitat for Humanity affiliates and four volunteers with the organization’s “Pioneers in Excellence” awards. Award winners demonstrate innovation and creativity in their efforts to further the nonprofit’s mission to eliminate substandard housing.

“Habitat for Humanity was able to help a record number of families in need of homes in 2009,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “That was due, in large part, to the unwavering commitment of affiliates and of volunteers who continue serving families in need of affordable housing. The ‘Pioneers in Excellence’ awards allow us to recognize extraordinary levels of determination and achievement and to thank those who so faithfully carry out our mission.”

Affiliate of the Year Awards
The following Habitat affiliates were recognized in one of three population categories based on the number of families served locally and internationally through tithe contributions.

  • Habitat for Humanity of Collier County (Fla.) received the Affiliate of the Year award for its service in a community with a population greater than 250,000. The 32-year-old organization has worked in partnership with nearly 1,300 families to build affordable housing throughout its history, including more than 100 homes a year for the past eight years.
  • Indian River Habitat for Humanity (Fla.) received the Affiliate of the Year award for its service to communities of 50,000 to 250,000 people. In 2009, the affiliate provided 31 families with affordable housing, and over the last nine years has served more than 225 families. Through innovative programs. Indian River Habitat provides its homebuyers with access to job placement services, budget refresher courses, a financial counselor and educational programs for children.
  • Bay Waveland Area Habitat for Humanity’s (Miss.) work in Hancock County began with a response to the need for affordable housing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Recognized as Affiliate of the Year for their service to a population of less than 50,000, the affiliate dedicated its 100th home in 2009 and broke ground on their largest project to date: a 42-unit neighborhood in the heart of Bay St. Louis.

Clarence E. Jordan Awards
Two Clarence E. Jordan Award recipients were recognized for creativity and innovation in areas of affiliate operations. The award honors the legacy of Clarence Jordan, the founder of Koinonia Farm, a religious community in southwest Georgia, where the idea for Habitat for Humanity was born.

  • Beginning in 1998, with support from a private foundation, Beaches Habitat for Humanity, in Atlantic Beach, Fla., provided each student living in a Beaches Habitat for Humanity home with a scholarship to the University of North Florida. As an additional incentive for students to take advantage of the scholarship program, a Prep Club was created to motivate students to earn good grades and perfect attendance.
  • Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity (Tenn.) provides financial education and budgeting assistance to homeowners. The program has helped Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity’s 412 partner families attain a 24-year record low delinquent mortgage ratio.

Volunteer of the Year Awards
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals for their exceptional and sustained accomplishments to advance the mission of Habitat for Humanity. Four recipients were selected by Habitat for Humanity International for this award.

  • Don and Diane Barnes, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga, (Tenn.)
  • Jim Hofmann, River City Habitat for Humanity (Miss.)
  • Betty H. Salter, Pensacola Habitat for Humanity (Fla.)
  • Steve Scharfenberg, Gadsden-Etowah Habitat for Humanity (Ala.)

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, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit