It was a very difficult choice for our review panel, but Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville was honored with our 2012 Excellence in Nonprofit Board Governance Award last week at our dinner at the Boars Head Inn. Accepting the award, underwritten by Virginia National Bank, was their board chair, Jeanne McCusker and their immediate past board chair, Melba Campbell, from our review panel chair, former Governor Gerald Baliles. Along with the well deserved recognition, the organization received a check for $5,000 to help them continue their work.
Here is a summary from their nomination:
The mission of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville is to create simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families, volunteers and the communities of Greater Charlottesville. Over the past few years, the organization has developed a “New Paradigm in Affordable Housing” that has moved away from building one home on one lot for one family to building homes in neighborhoods and creating mixed income communities, beginning with the redevelopment of Sunrise trailer park. The success of this effort is having a broad impact nationally and inspiring other Habitat affiliates and other affordable housing providers to undertake similar projects.
The board has adopted the following priorities in the New Paradigm: improving and expanding family selection and support services; focusing on youth and long term community building by involving partner family children in the process; creating a center in Habitat neighborhoods where residents can gather and strengthen their bonds and enhance the sense of community; increasing volunteer participation and coordination; realizing greater organizational efficiency; amassing a significant inventory of affordable or no-cost lots; and achieving adequate cash flow. The board is applying these priorities in their current redevelopment planning for Southwood trailer park.
The board takes an active role in generating and reviewing four separate operational budgets: Core Building, Store, Southwood and Sunrise, and has clear expectations and policies for both board and staff. Project 20 is Habitat’s plan to generate a sustainable flow of capital to help create an infrastructure enabling them to build at least 20 homes annually. This approach of supporting the New Paradigm has helped Habitat not only survive, but thrive during the past tumultuous decade in the housing market. The result has been that Habitat’s annual home production has risen from 2 – 3 homes annually in 2003-2004, to an average of 15 over the past four years.
We think you will agree that the work of the volunteers serving the Habitat for Humanity board, both past and present, has been forward thinking and exemplifies good stweardship. Our community is stronger because of their work.
Posted by: Kim Connolly
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