(Note: This letter was included in the year-end 2017 newsletter.)
Having the unique perspective of seeing Flower City Habitat from where I sit is both a blessing and a joy. Many have heard me say, “We live at the corner of Generosity and Gratitude”, here at Habitat. And in this newsletter we want to share just what we mean by that and add to the rich context of this vision.
Generosity: The quality of showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected.
Gratitude: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
While it’s fun that we know what these words mean, it’s even more wonderful to see them brought to life daily by the many, many donors, supporters and volunteers that make up the community of Flower City Habitat. Thankfully, many people see volunteering and donating and giving of self to be as much a part of their DNA as is one’s height. Here at FCHH we see that our community sets some standards for generosity that are worthy of gratitude and deep admiration. A few examples of the generosity of time we witness daily are: The construction volunteers who roll up their sleeves to build quality, affordable homes with us all year round. The office, ReStore, and committee volunteers who work diligently behind the scenes; lending their time, expertise, and leadership to support our mission. Homebuyer coaches, who give critical one-one-one support to our homebuyers as they build their credit scores, financial savings, and sweat-equity hours are so generous in ways we probably never fully realize.
Just listing the types of dedicated supporters who make our work possible takes several pages (and you’ll read more about a few of them in the following pages). Let’s not lose sight of the immense gratitude that is shared back with us by those who participate on our programs and repair their credit, find reasonably priced furniture in one of our ReStores or even build a home for their family. Honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say “thank you” or “what a blessing this place is”. It’s so very easy “to see” gratitude brought to life by those who benefit from our ministry and work. The gratitude that our Habitat homebuyers show for the strength, stability, and self-reliance that their new home provides is clear and on the surface; but when we take the time to look a little deeper, we also find their generosity and what they give to all of us.
We see their generosity of spirit, infectious laughter, heart-felt joy, and their inspiring dedication to better their lives. We see Habitat homebuyers doing more sweat-equity hours than the minimum, staying extra hours to help build their own homes and their future neighbor’s homes. We see Habitat homeowners, who have already moved in, coming back to volunteer as Homebuyer coaches and creating neighborhood block clubs.
We see the generosity of Habitat homebuyers and homeowners giving more than is required, and this is when we start to really understand the “building communities and hope” part of our mission. We see everyone involved being viewed as a true partner, and we are grateful to everyone who is part of this empowering work, including you.
As you read this newsletter, I hope you’ll read slowly and reflect on the time that you have spent with us. Whether only a few hours or many years, think about if you enjoyed it, if you felt like you were part of something bigger than yourself, and if that’s something you’d like to experience with us again. If you did, you may begin to see the fuller side of gratitude. Not just the gratitude of the Habitat families that we partner with, but the appreciation we all feel for the opportunity to build our neighborhoods and our virtues at the same time.
In this newsletter, you will see that we are giving our annual report on progress, but we are doing so with a true focus on the very fiber of what makes us a community. Find ways to practice your generosity and gratitude through Habitat, but there’s no need to do it all, or all at once. If each of us take just one additional step, together we can build the homes, community, and hope that we all deserve. Together we will (and are) changing the face of housing in OUR community!
Thank YOU for being the blessing to our community that YOU are! God Bless,
Matthew J. Flanigan, CEO
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