Dr. Ken Bensen, founder of the first Habitat for Humanity state support organization
Ken Bensen is the senior development director and past president of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. When Bensen became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 1985, there were only six affiliates in Michigan—out of just 62 affiliates in all 50 states—producing 12 houses per year. By 2010, there were 77 Michigan Habitat affiliates building and rehabilitating nearly 300 homes a year.
In 1992, Bensen founded the first statewide Habitat support organization, Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, which became a model for other state organizations. Bensen spent much of his early Habitat career traveling throughout the state helping organize local affiliates. He built a relationship with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority that now provides down payment assistance grants for nearly every Habitat house built in Michigan. In 1986, and again in 2005, he helped lead Habitat’s annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Projects, in Michigan and Illinois. He has been involved in the building of more than 3,500 Habitat for Humanity homes throughout Michigan, affecting more than 14,000 lives.
Over the years, Bensen’s career with Habitat for Humanity has also taken him across the globe. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity organizations in Armenia, the Philippines, Brazil, Romania, Thailand and Vietnam.
Bensen is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and has served churches in Michigan, Illinois and Arizona. For many years he was Habitat for Humanity International’s representative to the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
Bensen has been the recipient of several awards: the Terrence Duvernay Award in 2002 from the Michigan Affordable Housing Conference, inductee in the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame in 2009, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 from Habitat for Humanity of Michigan.
Bensen has a deep understanding of Habitat for Humanity’s work at the affiliate and state levels and is an experienced resource development professional.