Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project has touched lives around the world thanks to the generous financial and volunteer support of sponsors committed to making a difference for people in need of affordable housing. For the first time in 36 years, the event is returning to Charlotte, North Carolina. This is especially exciting for US$1 million sponsor Bank of America as Charlotte is the bank’s headquarters, and its employees are eagerly gearing up to don hardhats and swing hammers in support of affordable housing in their community.
Among the Bank of America employees who will help build homes during this year’s Carter Work Project is Brenda Suits, senior vice president of global social responsibility. Brenda is well-versed in the life-changing difference affordable housing makes for families. While she was not able to participate in the Carter Work Project that took place in 1987, she was inspired by seeing the Habitat homes built during the weeklong event and knew she wanted to get involved. “I started volunteering with Habitat Charlotte Region that year, and I recruited a team from the bank to start volunteering, too,” says Brenda, who has participated in several Carter Work Projects throughout the years. “We’ve been volunteering ever since.”
Brenda has done every job possible on the Habitat build site. “I love framing, roofing, drywall, all of the parts that you really see forming the home and how quickly it becomes a structure that will be someone’s residence,” she says. During the Carter Work Project, Brenda will put her skills to use alongside more than 175 Bank of America employees helping to build homes in Habitat Charlotte Region’s The Meadows at Plato Price. The neighborhood will offer much-needed affordable housing in the Charlotte area.
“One-hundred-and-twenty people are moving to Charlotte every day. That’s a significant increase in population,” says Tom Scrivener, Bank of America’s chief operations executive and Habitat Charlotte Region board member. “That creates an enormous amount of demand for housing, which ultimately leads to a lack of supply. The people that are moving here are buying up houses, and land prices continue to rise. In addition, some portion of those 120 people moving here every day are in need of affordable housing.”
“I think the view of Bank of America is that we have to continue to invest in the health of the communities that we serve, including in Charlotte as our headquarter city,” Tom says. “A critical gauge of the health of the community is whether affordable housing is available. And so, it’s very clear that we have to be part of the solution.”
Bank of America has a longstanding history of working with Habitat to help ensure everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Bank of America has partnered with Habitat since 1986, providing support locally and globally. Employees have taken the partnership to heart. Many like Brenda have volunteered for decades to help Habitat homeowners achieve their dreams of homeownership, including delivering the company’s Better Money Habits® financial education programming at the request of local Habitat affiliates. Some employees continue to volunteer with Habitat after their retirement, Brenda says.
“Working with Habitat for Humanity globally, and then specifically with the Carter Work Project, is one of the many ways that our company and our employees live our purpose to make financial lives better,” says Brenda. “There’s really nothing more foundational to and for a family’s health and financial stability than what affordable housing provides.”