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Carolinas Habitats clean up

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Affiliates in Greensboro, Raleigh, Johns Island win top awards.

By Todd Cohen

[04.16.04] – Three Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the Carolinas have won the top three Affiliate of the Year awards from Habitat for Humanity International, based on population served.

The awards will be handed out this weekend at the annual leadership conference in Fort Worth, Tex., sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International, which has nearly 1,700 affiliates in the U.S.

Affiliate of the Year award-winners include Habitat for Humanity of Wake County in Raleigh, N.C., for affiliates serving populations over 250,000; Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro, also in North Carolina, for affiliates serving populations of 50,000 to 250,000; and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity on Johns Island, S.C., for affiliates serving populations under 50,000.

The recognition of the three Carolinas affiliates is believed to represent the first time the awards have been swept by affiliates from a single region.

Wake’s Habitat, founded in 1985, has built 238 houses, including 50 in 2003, its most productive year ever, and aims to build its 300th house in 2005, says Joyce Watkins King, director of marketing and development.

Construction plans for 2005 include a blitz to build 20 to 25 houses, she says.

Greensboro’s Habitat, founded in 1987, has built 225 homes in Greensboro and another 225 in Honduras, and two years ago launched a campaign to build 100 houses in 1,000 days, says Bob Kelley, president and executive director.

So far, Habitat has completed 57 of those houses, he says, with another 12 under construction.

Sea Island Habitat, the third-oldest Habitat affiliate, has built 168 houses, including 25 for its 25th anniversary in 2003, its biggest year ever, says Chuck Swenson, executive director.

The affiliate last year also produced a $25 book on Habitat’s ministry and the history of the island, which was the landing site for slaves from West Africa, housed big plantations and poor black farmers, and now is home to the Kiawah and Seabrook golf resorts and to a large poor population, Swenson says.

For the fourth straight year, a team from Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte, N.C., is on the island to build two Habitat houses, bringing the church’s total to seven.

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