Executive Director Update – October 2020
Stability through shelter
That’s at the heart of Habitat’s mission. Stability is the foundation that allows for growth. Without it, we are unsteady and unsure. Our vision shrinks to only see the risk in front of us and hinders our ability to plan for the future.
Now more than ever, our homes have become a shelter from the storms raging through our country. Safety from the spread of the disease, a space for families to talk about the social injustices in our society and a place to learn and work. At Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, we are working to bring shelter and hope to everyone in our community.
Shelter is the foundation and Building Strong Foundations Starts with You. This month we are reaching out to the community to ask for your help in securing the funding needed to place 16 families into new homes this year. It takes the generosity of donors, volunteers, and advocates to make that goal a reality. Please visit our website, www.hfhcc.org, to learn more about the incredible work Habitat is doing in the community and how you can help.
Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County
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.
Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County
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.
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.
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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.’”