Executive Director Update – September 2020

Executive Director Update – September 2020

How do you measure impact? We often get this question as we apply for grants or ask donors to support our work. Is it simply the number of houses we build? Is it the number of families that realize the dream of homeownership? Is it in the number of volunteer hours or donations to the Restore? How do you measure the change in the trajectory of a family’s life? How do you measure the impact of a safe, affordable home for a child who has had neither?

We are close to completing 5 new homes in West Grove and 3 in Coatesville. We are reviewing applications for families as we plan to build 8 more homes in the next year. When the final nail is hammered in, we will have completed 16 homes in a single year. We will have built 170 homes since Habitat for Humanity of Chester County was founded.

I was blessed to sit with two individuals who had fulfilled their mortgages and now fully owned their homes. With a safe place to raise their children, living in a community with shared values, and through hard work and determination, they had each overcome challenges to fully realize the dream of homeownership. How do you measure impact? Is it the number of homes and families, or in the tears of joy and laughter and hugs? It’s all those things.

To all of our volunteers, donors, homeowners, and continued supporters, we send you all well wishes during these continually challenging times. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Sincerely,
Chris Wiseman
Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County

Site Lines Newsletter | Summer 2020

Summer 2020 Edition

RESTORE CONTINUES TO REOPEN AND REVAMP

       

On June 16, the Caln ReStore reopened to the public after 13 weeks of closure. 

New health and safety regulations from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are reminders that the pandemic is not over. Still, the ReStore employees, long-time volunteers, and customers were nonetheless thrilled to have the doors open again. 

To open safely, Habitat made some policy changes, including taking purchases home the same day and limiting ReStore staff interaction in assisting with the loading of items into vehicles. Face coverings are required, and maximum occupancy limits are in effect so that shoppers can maintain social distancing. Regular disinfecting of high touch points are scheduled throughout the day. All these procedures are in place to ensure the comfort and, most importantly, the ReStore’s customers, volunteers, and staff’s safety.

These new policies have certainly not deterred customer shopping, as evidenced by above-average sales in the first few weeks. However, the new guidelines have challenged the team to rethink all of the ReStore’s previous policies, mainly donations. 

The ReStore has resumed donation drop-offs behind the building at the intake center. To keep the process contactless, donors are asked to unload items themselves whenever possible, under staff members’ direction. The ReStore’s residential curbside pickup service has been reinstated as well. To keep all parties safe, donors must stage their donations “curbside” for contactless pickup.

At the intake center, new donations are sanitized or quarantined before being put on sale. As a result, this has kept the warehouse full in the past few weeks. Volunteers and staff are working diligently to adjust to the new protocols to keep product moving to the sales floor. While it’s been a learning curve to operate under the new government guidelines, the excitement of reopening radiates from customers, employees, and volunteers. It’s clear that they are happy to be back.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers and employees, the ReStore is well-poised to continue its mission and serve the local Chester County community’s needs. To schedule a donation pickup or to inquire about what items the ReStore accepts, please visit www.ReStoreChesCo.org.

HfHCC WELCOMES CHRISTY KANE

   

We are pleased to announce that Christy Kane has been appointed Director of Marketing and Development. In this role, Christy will be boosting Habitat’s presence in the community while generating funding for the expansion of Habitat programs to allow more families to attain an affordable home in Chester County.

Christy most recently was serving as Director of Administration at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. There, she served a crucial role in fundraising, stewardship, volunteer management, and marketing initiatives. She exceeded event and personal revenue by 10% consistently in her eight years with the organization. Christy also has experience in the for-profit and construction realm, having worked for R.D. Arnold Construction for 11 years.

Christy is excited to join the Habitat for Humanity team and is looking forward to giving back to the community. “Having worked in both for-profit and nonprofit, I realized that it’s important for me to feel like my job is having a positive impact on people,” she shared. “Habitat doesn’t just build homes; they build strong, confident, empowered families that make their communities a better place. I am so excited to be a part of that and ask others to join me.”

Although the global pandemic initially stalled Habitat for Humanity of Chester County’s fundraising efforts and some in-person events, we emerged from the setback even stronger. We expect to help a record number of families find homeownership in the next year. Construction continues at the 40-unit West Grove neighborhood and the Cambria development in Coatesville, which already houses 54 Habitat families. Adding Christy to the team creates a stronger foundation for HFHCC to accomplish our goals for the coming years.

Christy enjoys hiking, reading, and spending as much time at the beach with her daughter as possible outside of the workplace. Her father was a general contractor whose work fascinated Christy at a young age. “To me, it’s remarkable to see simple drawings and elevations on a blueprint turn into someone’s dream home. I truly admire the craftsman and tradesman who make it all happen.”

When asked what she would like to share with the community, Christy replied, “I guess I would say I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the HfHCC family. Now, more than ever, it is so important to give families a home they can afford. I look forward to working with everyone to provide high quality, safe housing, and thriving communities for future generations.”

HfHCC DIRECTORS MOVE INTO NEW ROLES

 

As Habitat heads into a new fiscal year, we also welcome members of our board into new roles. Most notably, our board president for the past two years, Andy Signore, completed his term and has passed the leadership torch.

Andy served on the board for six years. A retired engineer, he was familiar with Habitat’s work in the community and was asked to join the board, given his construction and engineering experience. The Wayne resident shared that his favorite moments volunteering with the organization are the dedications. He says, “Seeing the happy families receiving their keys and their neighbors’ support is thrilling and very satisfying.”

When asked if Andy had anything he would like to share with our supporters, he replied, “Homeownership is a great privilege in our world. Our families earn their homes with their sweat equity. We PROVIDE A HAND UP. I trust the organization will continue to grow and provide valuable service to the community. I urge our supporters to stay involved and continue to provide the spiritual and monetary support needed to help deserving families get a firm start on their future through affordable housing.”

As for HfHCC’s new board president, we congratulate five-year board member Ted Zobian. Ted is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, a husband to his wife Melanie, and a father to his two sons Teddy and Charlie. Ted’s first involvement in Habitat was organizing the 2010 Driving to Build Gold Outing. He had been aware of Habitat’s work in the area and was excited to join the board to do more with the organization.

“I am so appreciative of our terrific staff and our dedicated volunteers and donors’ continued support.” Ted shared. “We have weathered the shutdown storm, and we continue to fulfill our mission of putting God’s love into action by building homes, communities, and hope. I would also like to share my gratitude for the past board leaders who have helped build such a great organization, especially Andy Signore and Bob Norris. Leaders like Andy and Bob have had a tremendous impact on Chester County’s affordable housing landscape. I will endeavor to maintain the momentum and growing positive impact in our great community.”

We would also like to thank our now former board vice president, Bob Norris, who is entrusting the title to Michael Cappelletti. Bob has been an active member of the Habitat board for seven years and a key advocate for the West Grove development. Bob’s parting words to the community were, “When you look at our diversity, whether it is race, origin, color, wealth, job, or willingness to offer a hand or help others in need, I believe Chester County is a very special community. Some do it with dollars; some do it with hours and labor. Even the challenging situation we are in right now seems to bring out the best in Chester County.” Mike Cappelletti steps into the vice president role, having been on the board for two and a half years. He first got involved with HfHCC by building at the Coatesville construction site. Mike says, “I am the son of a carpenter from Italy; my first job was as a carpenter. I can still swing a hammer! I believe that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and I try to live that through my involvement in HfHCC.”

On behalf of the Habitat for Humanity of Chester County team, we thank all of our board members, past and present, for their dedication to this organization and the meaningful work they make possible.

Beer Ticket Book Update | Support Local Breweries

We were so excited to sell out of our beer ticket books during last year’s Building a Thirst fundraiser with visions of springtime spent at Chester County breweries. But as the COVID-19 crisis continues, we are all doing our part to stay home in hopes of flattening the curve and stopping the spread. Although we are unable to sit and enjoy a pint at our favorite breweries, many of them have adjusted beer sales to keep business going during these difficult times. As partners, neighbors, and friends, we reached out to the 11 breweries that are part of the 2020 Building a Thirst fundraiser so that we can share how best to support these generous businesses. Many of the breweries have extended the expiration date of their Building a Thirst coupon until the end of the year. We will continue to update the website as we hear from our partners, so be sure to check back often.

*Please be sure to verify hours and availability with breweries since they will have the most up to date information for their specific location.

Sign up for updates on beer tickets, happy hour dates, brewery updates and more!

Conshohocken Brewing Co.

(Rec Room)

Conshohocken Brewing Co. has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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Crowded Castle Brewing

Crowded Castle has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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East Branch Brewing

East Branch Brewing has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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Kennett Brewing Company

Kennett Brewing Co. has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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La Cabra Brewing

La Cabra Brewing has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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Locust Lane Brewing

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Locust Lane has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

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Root Down Brewing

Root Down has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020!

Click here to visit their Facebook for daily specials
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Stolen Sun Brewing

Stolen Sun has extended the expiration date of their beer coupons to Dec. 31st 2020! You can also use your beer ticket now for $6 off your purchase!

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HfHCC Welcomes Chris Wiseman as New Executive Director

Habitat for Humanity of Chester County is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Wiseman as the new Executive Director. Chris will be responsible for the leadership of the organization and will work closely with the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and Habitat families to bring more affordable housing to Chester County.

Chris brings a wealth of nonprofit experience, including 20+ years in financial development, strategic planning and implementation, staff and board development, and operational effectiveness.  Most recently, he served as the Director of Operations at Germantown Academy where he managed key areas of operations, security planning, camps, and school programming.  Chris has also served in a variety of roles with the YMCA in Illinois, California, North Carolina, and close to home here in Coatesville.  As the Executive Director at the Brandywine YMCA, Chris led the operations and services for the full-facility branch, serving more than 10,000 members and increasing the net revenue by more than $400K.

Now in our 31st year, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County has significantly expanded our current level of single-family construction in Coatesville and our new 40-townhome community in West Grove.  We currently have nine (9) homes under construction and look forward to their completion when the statewide restrictions are lifted.  Chris will be instrumental in working with local philanthropic and community leaders, donors, volunteers, and Habitat friends to drive the organization’s impact on the growing need for affordable housing in our local community.

Chris is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.  Andy Signore, President of the Board of Directors offered, “We welcome Chris to the Habitat family and look forward to his leadership in our mission as we seek to ‘put God’s love into action and bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.’

Site Lines Newsletter | Spring 2020

Spring 2020 Edition

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County’s utmost priority is protecting the people and communities we serve, and that has meant closures, cancellations, and postponements for our everyday activities. We have temporarily closed the ReStore, postponed our Build a House…Build a Dream annual fundraiser and halted any sponsored builds at the construction sites.

For some, the words “shelter in place” create a different crisis when you don’t have a safe shelter to protect your family. Donors like you have helped us build affordable homes for 31 years, and now, more than ever, it is crucial that we continue our mission.

Throughout this difficult time, we have learned that the key to moving forward is by working together. With your support, we are not just helping to build a house. You are ensuring families have safety, security and hope for a brighter future.

Thank you for your continued support. We pray for you and your families safety and health during this unprecedented time.

A HEARTFELT FAREWELL TO TWO OF OUR FRIENDS

 

      

Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County said goodbye to two staff members who have been with the affiliate, for collectively, 27 years. Executive Director Chip Huston decided to step down from his role after 17 years, and Bobette Meeter announced her retirement as Director of Family Services after ten years. During his 17 years as Executive Director, Chip’s leadership and advocacy in the community helped increase HfHCC’s impact on the need for affordable housing in Chester County. During that time, Habitat volunteers and donors built 92 homes in partnership with families in need. Outside of Chester County, Chip and his team participated in two trips to Louisiana, building three houses for Hurricane Katrina victims, and worked on the 2007 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Los Angeles.

As for the future, Chip will be taking time off to consider the ways that he can continue to contribute to the community. “It’s been a long year, and I need to get back to my full capabilities. I am not done helping people in Chester County. It’s my home and a place I love. One of the best places to live, work, and raise a family in the United States. A door is closing, but God has a plan, so I look forward to the window He will open.”

As Director of Family Services for ten years, Bobette helped 47 families achieve the dream of homeownership. Her lifetime experience in the banking world and genuine kindness towards anyone and everyone brought positive energy to the HfHCC office. Bobette was there from the time that families first submitted their applications to dedication day, making sure they all had the tools they needed for success as new homeowners. She also consistently helped out at the Driving to Build Golf Outing and the Build a House…Build a Dream event where her humor pushed everyone towards the finish line of very long days.

Bobette plans to continue giving back by volunteering at the Chester County Food Bank while enjoying retired life with her husband and kitties. She is excited to finally have time to work on all the DIY projects she has accumulated from the ReStore over the years and keep perfecting her already amazing baking recipes.

On behalf of the HfHCC staff, homeowners, and friends throughout the community, we say thank you to our friends Chip and Bobette. We wish you both good health and happiness!

VIWINCO PROVIDES WINDOWS FOR 5 NEW HOMES

 

Through the loyal support of donors like Mr. David J. Barnes, President of Viwinco, our mission thrives. Viwinco made a very generous commitment to Habitat board member Mike Cappelletti, pledging to donate the windows for the first five homes in our new Fuller Meadows community in West Grove. Mr. Barnes began his relationship with Habitat for Humanity of Chester County more than 15 years ago when he helped on a build site in West Chester. Having grown up in Chester County, he has strong ties to the community and its neighboring Habitat affiliates. He feels strongly that his role as a business owner is to be “good to the community” by giving back what he can to those in need.

He believes in Habitat’s mission and our focus on the affordable housing crisis. “Habitat is greater than what people know about it,” Barnes said, adding that he understands how difficult it can be to get the word out that our homeowners invest their sweat equity and hard-earned income into the purchase of their homes. As he puts it, they “have skin in the game” and that makes all the difference in their ability to appreciate and sustain the low-cost mortgages. Mr. Barnes loves our goals because “the people get involved, the people give back, and we need to always help those that have less.” His philanthropic spirit and dedication to helping others are demonstrated in both his community relationships and personal commitments. 

Mike has known Dave “Barney” Barnes for over 20 years, reflecting, “Dave has always been engaged in the community as a volunteer, supporter, and philanthropist. He has been a big part of the success of our builds in Coatesville for many years. We are grateful for his personal and Viwinco corporate support!” Thanks to Mr. Barnes and Viwinco, our future homeowners in West Grove will come home to safe, stable, and secure homes with a great view of their future through Viwinco’s windows.

WEST GROVE HOMEOWNERSHIP

   

Five townhomes are under a roof at the West Grove construction site! We are currently accepting applications for anyone interested in owning one of these brand new townhomes that feature:

• Brand new
• 1,680 square feet
• 3 Stories
• 4 Bedrooms
• 2 Bathrooms
• 40 unit community
• Starting at $175,000
• $0 down
• 1-3% 30-year USDA mortgage
• Family income ranging from $43,700-$92,250

For more information visit www.hfhcc.org/westgrovesite

 

Join Habitat for Humanity for a day of golf on Monday, September 14, at French Creek Golf Club in Elverson. Designed by renowned architect, Gil Hanse (designed the 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Rio), French Creek is a challenging, exclusive, and scenic course. Proceeds from the outing benefit the construction of affordable homes in Chester County.

Where: French Creek Golf Club, 4500 Conestoga Road, Elverson

When: Monday, September 14, 2020. Registration opens at 9 AM, shot gun start at 10:30 AM.

Registration: $400 for an individual golfer or $1,500 for a foursome and two tee signs.

Includes a continental breakfast at registration, on-course food stations for lunch, and gourmet food and cocktails, a silent auction, and awards to follow after golf.

Click here for more information

NEW EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: SUSIE JAMES  

Susie James was born and raised in West Chester and has lived in Chester County for most of her life. She grew up on a farm in East Bradford Township, where her father had his veterinary office. She was always surrounded by some sort of four-legged critter. As children, she and her sisters were lucky enough to ride horses and started fox hunting at an early age. It was one of her favorite ways to spend time as a family. Susie has two wonderful sons that she’s incredibly proud of. Both live close by, so Susie gets to see them often.

Since moving to Coatesville, she joined Doe Run Presbyterian Church, where she has served as a Deacon and Elder and sings with the choir. Susie says, “Through my church, I am also a volunteer with Family Promise of Southern Chester County…another wonderful non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate homelessness.”

Susie’s professional life holds nearly 25 years of progressive experience in the Healthcare IT field, working for Shared Medical Systems, Siemens Health Services, and Cerner Health Services. She says, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of Habitat for Humanity as Director of Family Services where our vision is the hope that there will be a world where everyone has a decent place to live. By seeking to put God’s love into action, we bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.”

 From everyone at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, welcome to the team, Susie!

2020 Driving to Build Golf Outing

Join Habitat for Humanity for a day of golf on Monday, September 14 at French Creek Golf Club in Elverson. Designed by renowned architect, Gil Hanse (designed the 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Rio), French Creek is a challenging, exclusive, and scenic course. Proceeds from the outing benefit the construction of affordable homes in Chester County.

We want to assure all of our participants that HfHCC and French Creek Golf Club are adding extra steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the event. In order to provide a safe, enjoyable golf outing experience, the event, including dining, will be held outdoors. Carts will be sanitized prior to usage and hand sanitizer will be provided to all golfers for use as needed on and off the golf course. Masks will be required when traveling on golf carts and when entering the golf club for any reason. Masks can be removed while on the green, provided golfers are able to maintain the CDC’s recommended 6ft of social distance between other players as well as while eating outdoors. All food will be served or in self serve containers to eliminate contact. 

Where: French Creek Golf Club, 4500 Conestoga Road, Elverson

When: Monday, September 14, 2020. Registration opens at 9 AM, shotgun start at 10:30 AM.

Registration: $400 for an individual golfer or $1,500 for a foursome and two tee signs.

To register for as a foursome, individual golfer or sponsorship:

1. Click here to visit the online registration form.

2. Select if you would like to register as a foursome, individual golfer, or as a sponsor.

3. In “Payment Information” select how you would like to submit payment for your registration.

4. Click the “Donate Now” button to complete and submit your registration or sponsorship agreement.

Sponsorship Information