Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity surveys homes amid destruction left by deadly earthquake in Haiti

LES CAYES, Haiti (Aug. 17, 2021) ─ Habitat for Humanity crews have fanned out in Haiti’s southwestern peninsula to survey homes in the wake of a powerful earthquake that has killed at least 1,297 people and caused thousands of structures to the crumble to the ground.

The death toll and the number of people injured – estimated at 5,700 as of late Monday – are expected to rise as emergency teams continue to go through the rubble left by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, which leveled homes, churches and schools in cities such as Les Cayes, Jeremie and Anse à Veaux.

Officials have documented more than 12,000 homes destroyed or damaged so far, but Habitat expects this figure to rise significantly as more areas are surveyed.

“Our teams have started surveying neighborhoods in the affected areas to help assess damage to homes, in coordination with the government and other humanitarian agencies,” said Jean Frenel Tham, national director of Habitat for Humanity Haiti. “Unfortunately, these structures – many with large openings on the ground floor, little or no reinforcements, and low-quality materials – often suffer serious damage in earthquakes. And, as we saw for far too many families on Saturday, they can collapse entirely.”

Photo taken by Nadia Todres of Hatian woman standing in front of the rubble of a collapsed home.

©Habitat for Humanity International / Nadia Todres

Search and rescue crews continue to extract people trapped under rubble, and hospitals are struggling to cope with the surge of injured people. Because of frequent aftershocks, many frightened residents are choosing to sleep outside. Heavy rains associated with Tropical Depression Grace late Monday and into Tuesday, meanwhile, complicated relief and recovery efforts.

“Tragically, thousands of Haitians are once again faced with rebuilding their lives and their homes,” said Ernesto Castro Garcia, Habitat’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We at Habitat are committed to being with them every step of the way. Our priority right now is to complete a thorough assessment of shelter needs in the impacted area and develop response options for the early recovery and reconstruction phases.”

Habitat for Humanity, which began working in Haiti in 1984, has forged strong partnerships with communities in Haiti’s southwest peninsula. Habitat worked with families to complete about 1,200 homes in response to Hurricane Matthew, which hit in 2016. Habitat continues to support construction of affordable housing, including for elderly residents in the area, while also building latrines and water points.

Those who wish to support Habitat’s disaster response efforts in Haiti and other communities around the world can donate to our Disaster Response Fund.

Energy Capital Habitat Selects Its New Partner Family

Gillette, WY July 26, 2021 – Campbell County’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity (ECHFH), is pleased to announce they have selected the next family to partner with the affiliate for a new stick-built home in Gillette.

The Miles family was chosen by the ECHFH Board of Directors from a pool of local applicants in 2021. Applicants had to demonstrate a need for affordable housing, the ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and a willingness to partner with Habitat to build and purchase a new home, the three criteria necessary to form a Habitat partnership.

Heather is a single mother of two who moved back home to Gillette in 2018. She has spent several years getting back on her feet and establishing her own business. After the two-month application process, she is very excited to be partnering with ECHFH.

“Two bible verses came to my mind when I received the news. The first was Philippians 4:19 ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ The second was, Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’ Thank you God for such a blessing as this and thank you to all who have and may contribute to put in your time and money to help make this happen. It means so much for my kids and I.”

ECHFH has been raising funds for the home build through their “Campbell County Builds” campaign. Donors have the option of choosing what construction materials they’d like to purchase with their contribution. Through Campbell County Builds, the community is investing in more than just building supplies, they are investing in the homeowner and the impact a safe, affordable home will have on their lives.

“We are excited about the possibilities that will open up for Heather once her family hash a place to call their own,” says Brenda Kirk, ECHFH Executive Director. “Habitat homeowners have shown they are able to build stability in their lives with an affordable mortgage, and that enables them to get more involved with their community and improves the entire family’s overall health and wellbeing.”

Once a Habitat home is completed, the purchase of the house and property by a partner family will enable the next home to be built. The cycle will continue as long as the community is invested in the vision of Habitat: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Volunteers are sought not only to help build the next Habitat home, but to help recruit donations for the build and bring awareness to the nonprofit.

“We are a volunteer-run organization, and we wouldn’t be able to build our next home without the help of our community,” says Kirk. “Even those with no construction experience can give back in a huge way just by spreading the word about Habitat in Gillette.”

More details about Campbell County Builds, and how to donate or volunteer, are available at gillettehabitat.org.

Community Nonprofits Seek to Raise $20K at WyoGives Block Party Celebration

JUNE 1, 2021—GILLETTE, WYOMING–Sixteen Campbell County community nonprofits invite the community to a Block Party at 5 pm on Wednesday, July 14 to help raise money for WyoGives. The nonprofits have a goal to raise $20,000 during the event to be split equally among them. A match of $5,000 has already been pledged by Kissack Water and Oil. Every nonprofit has their own goal to reach the day of the event; please contact them for more information.

The Block Party takes place at the Big Lost Meadery and Brewery parking lot at 105 Warren Avenue. Local country music performer Kellen Smith provides entertainment from 5-7 pm; those interested in the performance are encouraged to bring a chair. Entrance is free, but donations to nonprofits participating in WyoGives are encouraged. Food will be available to purchase from Ranch & Roost, which offers delicious, high quality smash burgers, fried chicken sandos, fresh cut fries and loaded tots. Big Lost and Ranch & Roost have pledged to give 10% of sales from that evening to the nonprofits for WyoGives.

WyoGives, an initiative of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network, is designed to bring the state together as one community to raise money and awareness for Wyoming’s nonprofits virtually at wyogives.org. This is the second year this online fundraising day has been hosted in the state. The event is held on GiveGab, an online fundraising platform where individuals can search and donate to nonprofits across the state. The platform also allows smaller nonprofits a chance to fundraise alongside more well-known organizations, broadening their reach to a larger audience to help raise more money.

Thanks to GiveGab, each nonprofit that participates in WyoGives can create a separate and customizable web page for secure donations the day of the event. Donors can also choose to cover the money processing fee of their contributions in the platform. GiveGab provides the Wyoming Nonprofit Network a way to thoroughly vet the charities that participate to ensure donations go to worthwhile causes and good stewards of funds.

Campbell County nonprofits participating in the WyoGives Block Party include:

  1. AVA Community Art Center enriches lives by creating the bridge between visual arts and our community. For more information, contact Quinn Goldhammer at quinn@avacenter.org or 307.682.9133, or visit avacenter.org.
  2. Climb Wyoming’s mission is for low-income single mothers to discover self-sufficiency through career training and placement. For more information, contact Jenny Mashak at jenny@climbwyoming.org or 307-685-0450, or visit climbwyoming.org
  3. Council of Community Services offers meals every day through its soup kitchen, provides nutrition to families in need in Campbell County, Wyoming through the food pantry, puts a roof over people’s head in times of crisis, provides case managers to help people deal with health emergencies, and works to move families into permanent housing. For more information, contact Misty Lange at misty@ccswy.org or 307-686-2730, or visit ccsgillette.org.
  4. Edible Prairie Project works to get food grown by local farmers and ranchers in Campbell County into the hands of children and families that need it most to build a more fair, resilient, and sustainable community food system. For more information, contact Megan Taylor at megan@edibleprairieproject.org or 307-228-0044, or visit edibleprairieproject.org.
  5. Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity is an all volunteer-run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, building homes for low and mid-income working families in Campbell County. For more information, contact Brenda Kirk at energycapitalhabitat@gmail.com or 307-228-0024, or visit gillettehabitat.org
  6. Fur Kids Foundation helps families with pets afford emergency veterinary care when they cannot afford it in Campbell County. For more information, contact Felicia Messimer at furkidsfoundation@gmail.com or 307-363-1131, or visit furkidsfoundation.org.
  7. Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation provides a comprehensive range of free and confidential services to meet the needs of all those affected by family and sexual violence. GARF also works to empower victims and the community through prevention, awareness, and education. For more information, contact Jessica Howard at grafdirector@garfwy.com or 307-686-8076.
  8. The Gillette Chamber Singers are an adult community choir with members from all walks of life. Founded in 1986, the 40-member group has performed for local, regional and international audiences. For more information, contact gillettechambersingers@gmail.com, or call 307-680-3026.
  9. Gillette College Foundation works to advance student success at Gillette College. For more information, contact Heidi Gross at hgross@sheridan.edu or 307-681-6400, or visit gillettecollegefoundation.org.
  10. Gillette Main Street provides economic and social opportunities by promoting and strengthening the viability and historic preservation of downtown Gillette. For more information, contact Jessica Seders at gillettemainstreet@gmail.com or 307-689-8369, or visit gillettemainstreet.us
  11. Gillette Reproductive Health provides quality reproductive healthcare on a sliding fee scale. For more information, contact Julie Price-Carroll at julie@4grh.com or 307- 682-8110, or visit gillettereproductivehealth.com.
  12. Northeast Wyoming Community Health Foundation (formerly the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation) provides funding to support local health-based programs and services such as financial assistance and resources to cancer patients and their families, hospitality services at Close to Home, free flu shots to kids, activities to the residents of The Legacy, financial assistance to Lifeline Emergency Response subscribers and scholarships to promote healthcare education. For more information, contact Nachelle McGrath at 307.257.7057 or nachelle@newcommunityhealth.org, or visit newcommunityhealth.org
  13. Rockpile Museum Association supports, promotes and otherwise assists the Campbell County Rockpile Museum. For more information, please contact Lucas Fralick at lcfresearch42@gmail.com or 307-660-0729.
  14. Salvation Army provides emergency rent, utilities, food, medications and specialized clothing for new jobs.  For more information please contact Jenny Hartung at Army@vcn.com or 307-682-6982, or visit westernusa.salvationarmy.org/gillette/.
  15. Women’s Resource Center of Northeast Wyoming is a non-profit medical clinic that offers free medical services and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies in Northeast Wyoming. For more information, contact Sawyer Poitra at sawyer@wrcgillette.com or 307-685-2211, or visit wypregnancyhelp.com.
  16. YES House Foundation provides funding for the programs, children and families, equipment, building and expansion needs of the Youth Emergency Services, Inc. to better serve the Gillette, Wyoming community. For more information, contact Mary Melaragno at MMelaragno@yeshouse.org or 307-686-0669, ext. 1009 or visit yeshousefoundation.org

Habitat CEO statement on verdict in George Floyd murder case

ATLANTA (April 21, 2021) — Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford issued the following statement following the jury’s finding of guilt of the officer charged in the killing of George Floyd:

“I am encouraged that this verdict brings accountability in this case and that the justice system will hold the officer responsible for his reprehensible actions. While no verdict could bring George Floyd back to his loved ones, I hope that this trial will lead to reforms all across our country that will protect others from meeting his fate.

“We know that the work for racial justice — and the imperative to end police violence against Black Americans — must continue with steadfast resolve and without delay.

“To Habitat’s Black homeowners, staff members, volunteers and other supporters: I recognize the extraordinary burden that these events have put on you, and that you carry this trauma every day. As Americans, we may all feel shame and grief as we watch these killings. But you bear this pain in a way that I know I can never fully understand. Over the course of this last year, I have been listening to you, hearing you and seeing you. Scripture reminds us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep,’ and commands us to bear one another’s burdens. What I can do is pledge to do my very best to stand with you, to be your ally in healing and in the continuing fight for justice.

“As we move into a time of healing, this moment calls on me to reflect on Habitat’s vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live. That vision is not just a roof and four walls. That ‘place to live’ is in a community that supports each other, a world that values its people as each made in the image of God. It is that world that Dr. King described as the Beloved Community, and that we need to keep building.

“There is a wide gulf between the world today and that vision. At Habitat, we believe in the power of building. We believe a bridge can be built over that gulf. But we can only build it together.”

Habitat for Humanity to Congress: Fund housing investments as part of a national infrastructure package

More than 560 Habitat for Humanity organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia sign letter to congressional leadership

ATLANTA (March 26, 2021) —Asserting that housing is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure, Habitat for Humanity International and more than 560 local Habitat organizations are calling on congressional leaders to commit to major investments in housing production, neighborhood revitalization and housing equity as they consider infrastructure spending.

“The pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing housing affordability crisis being fueled by a shortage of habitable, affordable homes, including a record-low supply of entry-level homes for sale,” Habitat wrote in the letter, which was signed by local Habitat organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. “At the same time, many long-disinvested communities are being weighed down by deteriorating housing stock and abandoned properties that hold back economic recovery. These include formerly redlined communities of color, towns devastated by loss of industry, pockets of distress in otherwise prosperous areas, and rural communities with high rates of poverty and older housing stock.”

In the letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Habitat called for the following measures to be included in an infrastructure package:

  • The Neighborhood Home Investment Act, which would provide federal tax credits to fund build and rehabilitate homes for low- and moderate-income homeowners.
  • The Restoring Communities Left Behind Act, which would create a grant program for communities to invest in low-income housing and revitalization.
  • Funding for existing affordable housing programs, including the HOME Investment Partnership Program, the USDA 502 loan program and the Section 4 program.

“Many Habitat affiliates nationwide are working hard in struggling communities to build and rehabilitate homes, and are witnessing firsthand the need for increased resources,” Habitat wrote. “Federal investments can begin to unlock economic recovery and help ignite a virtuous cycle of rising home values that removes disincentives to broader neighborhood reinvestment while creating thousands of jobs, remediating urgent health hazards, and narrowing our nation’s racial wealth gap. Habitat urges Congress to prioritize these housing investments to ensure no one and no community is left behind as we rebuild from the pandemic.”

Through its Cost of Home campaign, Habitat is working across the nation to advocate for policy solutions that will help 10 million people have access to affordable homes.

Read the full letter.

Energy Capital launches Campbell County Builds

Gillette, WY – Campbell County’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity (ECHFH), is launching a new fundraiser which will put 100 percent of its proceeds towards building the next Habitat home in Gillette.

“Campbell County Builds” is a pledge drive that will allow local donors to choose how they would like to directly fund a 2021 new home build by selecting an amount that equates a specific cost for construction materials. Through Campbell County Builds, the community is investing in more than just building supplies, they are investing in a future homeowner and the impact a safe, affordable home will have on their lives.

“In stable housing, without the anxiety of rent hikes or eviction, families are able to improve their overall health, their children’s education, and break the cycle of poverty,” says ECHFH Executive Director, Brenda Kirk. “A community that invests in Habitat homeowners sees that family invest their time and money back into the community that supported them.”

In conjunction with Campbell County Builds, the application cycle for the next Habitat home has begun. Those interested in finding out more about the process, or receiving an application, can fill out the pre-application form on gillettehabitat.org, or contact the affiliate directly. Completed applications can be submitted starting January 1, 2021. From now until then, prospective homeowners will have time to fill out their application and gather the necessary paperwork to submit for consideration.

Applications will be due February 1, 2021. ECHFH has established an office in downtown Gillette inside First National Bank, to schedule consultations with families seeking help with their application. A webinar explaining the basics of how to apply is also scheduled to launch December 1 on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ECHFH.

Volunteers are sought not only to help build the next Habitat home, but to help select the family that will receive it.

“We are a volunteer-run organization, and we wouldn’t be prepping to build our next home without the help of our community,” says Kirk. “Even those with no construction experience can give back in a huge way just by recommending a family in need to us.”

More details about Campbell County Builds, and how to donate, is available at gillettehabitat.org.

Homeownership applications can be emailed, or printed copies can be picked up at 319 S. Gillette Avenue, Suite 267.

Habitat for Humanity International names Natosha Reid Rice as first global diversity, equity and inclusion officer

ATLANTA (Sept. 2, 2020) — Habitat for Humanity International is proud to announce it has named Natosha Reid Rice as the organization’s first global diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Rice, who has served with Habitat since 2011, will serve as a member of the nonprofit’s senior leadership team.

“Habitat for Humanity International is fiercely committed to doing the work that brings equity to our efforts and helps bring justice to the communities in which we work,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We have long relied on Natosha’s counsel as a leader in this space and are grateful that she has accepted this challenge to help us grow as an organization that embeds our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy into all that we do.

Rice is transitioning from her previous role as associate general counsel for real estate and finance at Habitat, where she initiated and managed financing programs and strategies to generate sources of capital that enable Habitat affiliates to build affordable housing with families throughout the U.S. In her new role, Rice will lead the development and the execution of Habitat’s global strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Habitat’s mission challenges us daily to put our faith into action,” Rice said. “The creation of this role is evidence of Habitat joining faith with good works to strengthen the organization for its employees, volunteers, donors and the families we partner with worldwide. I believe that this is more than the right thing to do – it is essential to the success of our mission and organizational strategy. I am honored to offer my experience and expertise in support of it.”

In addition to significant contributions to Habitat for nearly 10 years, Rice previously served as an attorney specializing in real estate, an area where many Black people and other communities of color have experienced decades of disadvantage and systemic discrimination. She has also worked as a college professor teaching on the political and practical issues related to community development, and as an accomplished and celebrated speaker and pastor bringing diverse people and communities together. In addition to her work at Habitat, Rice serves as minister for public life at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

Nine area nonprofits ask for support during WyoGives on July 15

JUNE 22, 2020—GILLETTE, WYOMING—Nine nonprofits in Campbell County have signed on to participate in WyoGives, an initiative of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network that is designed to bring the state together as one community to raise money and awareness for Wyoming’s nonprofits.

Scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, this 24-hour day of giving takes place virtually at wyogives.org. This is the first year this online fundraising day has been hosted in the state. The event is held on GiveGab, an online fundraising platform where individuals can search and donate to nonprofits across the state. The platform also allows smaller nonprofits a chance to fundraise alongside more well-known organizations, broadening their reach to a larger audience to help raise more money.

Thanks to GiveGab, each nonprofit that participates can create a separate and customizable web page for secure donations. GiveGab also provides the Wyoming Nonprofit Network a way to thoroughly vet the charities that participate to ensure donations go to worthwhile causes and good stewards of funds.

A list of the Campbell County nonprofits participating in WyoGives and their goals are below:

  • Campbell County Healthcare Foundation, partnering with YOU in the health and wellness of YOUR community, by addressing the critical need of patients in our community through financial assistance, medical supplies and hospitality stays. We also promote preventative care through our VIP (Vaccine for Influenza Prevention) Program and promote healthcare education through local scholarships. GOAL: $5,000 to fill the increased need by our patients due to COVID-19 ramifications. For more information, contact Nachelle McGrath at nachelle@cchcf.com or 307.688.6235.
  • Council of Community Services offers meals every day through its soup kitchen, provides nutrition to families in need in Campbell County, Wyoming through the food pantry, puts a roof over people’s heads in times of crisis, provides case managers to help people deal with health emergencies, and works to move families into permanent housing. More families rely on the food pantry or require rent assistance to avoid hunger and homelessness due to layoffs related to the Coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, traditional fundraisers have been postponed as we stay home and stay safe. GOAL: $5,000. For more information, contact Misty Lange at misty@ccswy.org or 307-686-2730.
  • Edible Prairie Project works to get food grown by local farmers and ranchers right here in Campbell County into the hands of children and families that need it most so we can build a more fair, resilient, and sustainable community food system. Our Summer Weekend Meals for Kids program provides kid-friendly and nutritious food packages, including at least one fresh fruit or vegetable, to children each weekend during summer break. We help maintain the Gillette Little Free Pantries – a network of upcycled newspaper dispensers placed in our city parks that any member of our community can access for food at any time, and our Veggie Baskets bring locally grown produce to everyone through our “pay-what-you-can” pricing. GOAL: $3,000. For more information, contact Megan Taylor at megan@edibleprairieproject.org or 307-228-0044.
  • Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity addresses the critical need for affordable housing by providing home ownership opportunities for Gillette families in need. We serve families whose income is 30 percent – 60 percent of the current median income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Wyoming. In clean, decent, stable housing, families can provide stability for their children; a family’s sense of dignity and pride grow; health, physical safety, and security improve; and educational and job prospects increase. GOAL: $3,000 to help with the Critical Home Repairs program. For more information, contact Brenda Kirk at energycapitalhabitat@gmail.com or 307-228-0024.
  • Fur Kids Foundation: All too often animals suffer needlessly or are put down due to expensive veterinary bills. Created in November 2011, Fur Kids Foundation helps families with pets afford emergency veterinary care when they cannot afford it in Campbell County. Many people have been laid off in Campbell County, Wyoming due to changing national and worldwide energy needs and wants, and due to the devastating effects that COVID-19 has had on our national and state economy. Fur Kids Foundation has seen an uptick in families who need help when their pet gets hurt or ill unexpectedly. GOAL: $5,000 and five new volunteers. For more information, contact Felicia Messimer at furkidsfoundation@gmail.com or 307-363-1132.
  • Gillette College Foundation works to advance student success at Gillette College. The Foundation provides funding for specific projects, such as the Rodeo/Ag Complex, Area 59 and the Pronghorn Center; as well as funding for programs, equipment, grants and scholarships. GOAL: $5,000. For more information, contact Heidi Gross at hgross@sheridan.edu or 307-681-6400.
  • Gillette Main Street: If you live in Gillette, then you already know about the fierce loyalty that comes with being a “local” – supporting local business, preserving our economy, and maintaining our sense of identity as Wyomingites. Gillette Main Street is a nonprofit dedicated to upholding these very same values. Building The Economy of Gillette’s Future with Time-Tested Values from Its Past: Gillette Main Street promotes these values, protects them, and uses them to shape the future of our historic downtown. Gillette Main Street holds many of the most popular public events in Gillette every year—events that bring our far-flung community together for cultural enjoyment and pride. Our goal is to continue to build upon Gillette’s citizens’ sense of local community and to foster pride in the community where we all live and work. For more information, contact Jessica Seders at gillettemainstreet@gmail.com or 307-689-8369.
  • Women’s Resource Center of Northeast Wyoming offers free medical services and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies in Northeast Wyoming. Our clinic provides free pregnancy testing, confirmation of pregnancy, options consultations, personalized community referrals, and material assistance through our Earn While You Learn program. As a nonprofit we rely on community fundraisers to keep our doors open and services free. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic our annual spring auction event was canceled. Help us fill the gap this summer! GOAL: $5,000. For more information, contact Sawyer Poitra at sawyer@wrcgillette.com or 307-685-2211.
  • YES House Foundation provides funding for the programs, children and families, equipment, building and expansion needs of the Youth Emergency Services, Inc. to better serve the Gillette, Wyoming community. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the YES House hard. Staff has shifted many outpatient services to phone and video services, and some prevention programs have had to be suspended which has reduced funding to the YES House. At the same time revenue has decreased, staffing needs for youth living in residence has increased in order to maintain separation and safety. Each year the Y.E.S. House helps to protect, heal, and care for an average of 1,000 youth and their families throughout Northeastern Wyoming.  In 2018/2019 1,038 children and their families received support. GOAL: $5,000. For more information, contact Mary Melaragno at MMelaragno@yeshouse.org or 307-686-0669, ext. 1009.

Habitat’s commitment: Be actively anti-racist and affirm that Black Lives Matter

A message from Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity is more than a nonprofit housing ministry. We have a vision of a world where we share one humanity, and that’s a world that we believe in and fight for every day. We are a faith-based organization, but we realize that faith alone is not enough. Our faith must be coupled with works and action.

As we share in the sadness, anger and uncertainty that have rocked communities across the United States since the killing of George Floyd — protests of the systemic and racial injustice that have infused and informed the life of our nation — we recognize that we must do more. I must do more.

In recent days, I have fallen to my knees in frequent prayer and reflection, seeking God’s guidance. Guidance to be a better listener. Guidance to be a better leader. Guidance to truly understand that my path as a white man has not been the path of so many of my fellow citizens and that my own experiences cannot be the measure of their journeys; that we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And, finally, guidance to own where Habitat must go from here.

I know that I must change. I know that Habitat must change. And we must commit to tangible action.

We must commit to doing the work in our practices, our programs and our networks that brings equity to our efforts and helps bring justice to the communities in which we work. We must, throughout our ministry, do a better job of connecting issues of racial and social injustice with historic barriers to affordable housing and working to eradicate those barriers.

Historic discrimination in U.S. housing policy — particularly discrimination against Black Americans — is one of the chief drivers of racial inequities that persist today. Organizations like Habitat that work on housing must understand that history, and it must inform our work moving forward.

We want each of you, and all of our friends and supporters, to know the decisions we will make in how to proceed. Our answers cannot always be immediate, but I promise you that we will communicate with transparency.

Steps we are undertaking now:

  • We have created a Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, a new position that will be posted on habitat.org/careers. This new role will serve as a member of our senior leadership team and will report to our chief operating officer.
  • We recommit ourselves to taking bold actions to ensure racial equity through our collective advocacy efforts, specifically the Cost of Home campaign. The Cost of Home Policy Platform states, “Advocates and policymakers must acknowledge and address the well-documented patterns of racial discrimination in housing and land use policies — at all levels of government — that still impact the makeup and opportunities of our communities.” We will work to effectively address and respond to these urgent needs.
  • Our recently launched +You thought leadership series will seek to inform and educate our audiences on significant and pressing issues in housing today — health, the impacts of COVID-19 on low-income families and particularly in communities of color, the role of redlining and racial inequality in housing disparities, and more.
  • On Friday, June 19, Habitat for Humanity International will mark Juneteenth — the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States — with a Day of Reflection, Action and Solidarity. Our staff members are encouraged to use this day in a way that is most meaningful to them. Going forward, we will observe Juneteenth annually.

Every day and from now on, I and the leaders of our ministry commit to creating an environment where humility, open communication, dialogue and listening become our standard. In addition to being a space where people of all races, all faiths and all backgrounds can come together in common cause, we commit to being actively anti-racist and to affirming, through word and action, that Black Lives Matter and that our communities and systems must further this fundamental truth. We will ensure that our work is infused with courage and accountability so that we make our strong commitment to equity and true community a reality.

I promise to hold myself accountable for leading this organization to a better embodiment of these principles, and I seek your prayers, patience, support and help.

As we take up this work, we are reflecting on the list below, endorsed by the leaders of our Black Employee Success Team employee resource group. We offer it to you for your consideration as well.

Take action

Read

Watch

Energy Capital joins international Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign to help Campbell County build back from COVID-19

As the world continues to grapple with the public health crisis and the economic impact of COVID-19, the importance of a place to call home has never been more pronounced.

 

Since 1997, Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity (ECHFH) has supported families in Campbell County through many adversities. Now, in these very challenging times, ECHFH stands ready once again to offer a hand up to families in need of safe, decent and affordable homes. Through the Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign, the organization will raise funds to support more families who need access to the opportunities that an affordable home provides.

 

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home, and never has that been more evident than what we just experienced throughout the country,” says ECHFH Executive Director, Brenda Kirk. “There is a need in Campbell County for affordable housing, now more than ever.”

 

Funds raised through the Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign will be used for the next major Habitat home build in Gillette.

 

This is a unique opportunity for Habitat organizations all around the world to unite as a global network to galvanize communities and emerge from this crisis stronger together. The campaign will feature Habitat doing what it does best: building security and stability, building back the economy, reconnecting communities, and creating hope.

 

“Habitat for Humanity is needed now more than ever,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The world was already experiencing a housing crisis long before COVID-19. The pandemic has only made our work more urgent. Our neighbors need our help to build back, and we need your support as we work toward a world where everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to live.”

 

More details about Habitat’s Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign is available at gillettehabitat.org.

 

About Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity

 

Energy Capital Habitat for Humanity (ECHFH) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. As a Gold GuideStar charity, ECHFH has partnered with volunteers, donors and Habitat homeowners to build, renovate and repair homes locally and worldwide since 1997. The lives of thousands of individuals have been transformed as a result of having a decent and affordable place to call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes and pay an affordable mortgage. By supporting ECHFH through volunteerism, donations, and supporting affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future. To learn more, visit www.gillettehabitat.org.