As we share in the sadness, anger and uncertainty that have rocked communities across the United States since the killing of George Floyd — protests of the systemic and racial injustice that have infused and informed the life of our nation — we recognize that we must do more. I must do more." — Habitat for Humanity International CEO, Jonathan Reckford
Building with hammers and voices
Throughout Habitat's history, our work has been a vehicle for reconciliation that has broken down barriers between people. We work alongside those willing to partner with us, no matter their background or walk of life, and that will always be true.
We will continue to build with our hammers, build connections among community members; and build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
At the same time, we must also do a better job of directly addressing systemic barriers to affordable housing, and we must work to eradicate those barriers.
Historic discrimination in U.S. housing policy — particularly discrimination against Black Americans, and including mortgage redlining in Rochester — is one of the chief drivers of racial inequities that still persist today.
Organizations like Habitat that work on housing must understand that history, understand that its legacy still affects our neighbors and neighborhoods today, and it must inform our work moving forward.
In addition to being a space where people of all races, all faiths and all backgrounds can come together in common cause, we commit to being actively anti-racist and to affirming, through word and action, that Black Lives Matter and that our communities and systems must further this fundamental truth." — Habitat for Humanity International CEO, Jonathan Reckford
At the link below you will find further details of Habitat for Humanity's commitments, including steps that are being undertaken now, a great list of actions that you can take with us, and a list of educational materials (to read or watch).
We know we can't do everything on these lists all at once; but as individual staff members, volunteers, and supporters — we can each commit to starting with one. Start with one action today.
As a local Habitat affiliate, we are also committing to walking alongside and supporting each other as we undertake this essential work.
We will occasionally send bigger updates to everyone (like this one), but if you would like to receive more frequent, step-by-step updates about our advocacy, education, and social justice work, please update your email preferences here.
Thanking Kelly Glover for 14+ years of service
A letter from CEO, Matt Flanigan:
Today I share the news that Kelly Glover, our Flower City Habitat for Humanity CFO, has been offered a new challenge at another organization; a challenge she has accepted. Kelly will remain with us through November and begin her tenure as CFO at The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) in December.
Kelly has served the mission and families of FCHH with heart and grace since 2005 when she joined the staff as “Housing Services Manager”. In 2008, she ascended to the position of CFO, a role in which she has guided the financial health of our organization through her diligence and keen insights.
When I began my tenure with FCHH, I would quite often find myself in her office not only for help in understanding our complex financials (which remains the case to this day!) but also understanding the fabric and true underpinnings of this wonderful ministry’s culture and presence in our community. In the past few years, Kelly has grown her role as CFO, added HR responsibilities and has been an important voice on our management team. Her presence in the creation of our annual budget, and its ongoing stewarding is one of the strong passions and talents that she shares so freely!
In addition, if you’ve been to a house dedication, fundraising event or a luncheon of late, chances are you experience Kelly as the one whom we often turn to for leading our grace, as she welcomes us into her personal conversation with her loving God. There is no doubt that her quiet faith has brought blessings to many individuals as well as this organization as a whole.
Moving forward, our transition plan is in place and as we begin to implement, please forward any and all questions regarding finance to Sue Feuerherm and I.
While I am sad on a personal level to lose Kelly and her presence on our team, I am thrilled for her as I know she will adeptly rise to the challenges and exciting new opportunities that will be presented as she assumes this new role. I have no doubt she will positively impact CGR as she has Flower City Habitat.
Matthew J. Flanigan, MPA
President & CEO
Flower City Habitat for Humanity
Bob August honored as 2019 Outstanding Philanthropist
Last Friday we joined the AFP Genesee Valley in honoring local philanthropy, including a person very close to our mission.
At Flower City Habitat, Bob August is a regular "Hammer & Saw" construction volunteer, member of our Board of Directors, a generous donor, and so much more.
It was a joy to see his philanthropy work celebrated and to learn more about the other organizations he supports. Please help us congratulate Bob for the well deserved distinction of AFP's Outstanding Philanthropist of 2019!
From the RBJ:
While humble and quiet about his deeds, Robert W. August’s actions send a strong message about fulfilling one’s duty to help others when you can. He always takes the initiative to get things done and knows when to ask for help.
“While it is true that Bob carries out several community commitments,” Tom Hildebrandt of The Davenport-Hatch Foundation explained endorsing August’s nomination, “I have consistently seen that he manages to give high quality ‘time, talent, and treasure’ to each.”
August starts with causes that are near and dear to his heart and his family.
As a trustee of Hillside Family of Agencies Children’s Center, August leveraged his connections and advocacy to provide a lead gift towards the $1 million renovation of Camp Possibilities, a summer day camp serving 400.
August’s support of Hillside’s nationally recognized Work-Scholarship Connection also helps at-risk youth graduate from high school and continue their education or enter the workforce.
At Hope Hall School, which receives no state or school district funding, August’s efforts help fuel educational opportunities for students who struggle with learning challenges.
In addition to making 101 personal gifts to Hope Hall, August helped to raise $4 million to build the high school and hire the necessary teachers.
Eighty-seven percent of Hope Hall students live in poverty, so August cultivated support from the community to ensure the school can continue to give $400,000 in scholarships each year.
August has been a long-term and fully committed annual donor, board member, and faithful friend of Flower City Habitat for Humanity for over 16 years.
As an on-site volunteer, August worked alongside Habitat homebuyers, adding his sweat equity hours to theirs. The two houses he helped to build are now homes that promote revitalization and growth in their neighborhoods.
August saw the need for a box transport truck at the construction site and personally supported its purchase.
Habitat’s Vacant and Abandoned House Initiative began at the behest of the city of Rochester. August turned to the August Family Foundation for seed money to renovate a house on Parsells Avenue. Soon other private, foundation, and corporate donations followed, allowing for the renovation of six more houses.
August may not realize his influence, but he is a pacesetter that others follow.
“Bob is not bashful about sharing ideas for programs that could benefit from our mutual support,” said Hildebrandt. “A grant from the August Family Foundation is an incredible endorsement that other potential funders invariably take notice of.”
We lost a dear friend but we are also truly celebrating the life of Ann Woolston. Ann had an impressive career of service in Washington DC, then selflessly returned home to Honeoye Falls to care for her mother, and continued her giving by spending her last five years volunteering in our office three days a week.
Below is the just part of Ann's eulogy that was written by her dear friend Tom Rosshirt. They are profound, thought provoking words which were so beautifully put together out of love for Ann.
"That, in the end, was Ann’s highest purpose and passion – creating a beloved community where everyone knows everyone, everyone loves everyone, and we all come together in communion. That’s when Ann was most fulfilled. That’s when we could see her shining with happiness – when she was able to create a joyous gathering of happy souls.
So Ann should feel at home in her new home – because the purpose of heaven is joyous reunion, and the purpose of Ann’s life was creating heaven on earth.
She has found her full measure of happiness now. But what about us? It’s hard not to feel diminished with her absence. If the sum of our power is the number of people in our lives who love us, who encourage us, who believe in us and will fight for us, then all of us here are less powerful today – because we all lost someone who would do anything for us.
Unless – somehow – the change that’s taken place upon Ann’s leaving the earth doesn’t diminish us, but enhances us.
Ann has always helped us by asking for favors from friends in high places. But she’s never before risen this high!
So we might see more blessings coming to us, moments of grace we can’t explain -- the chance meetings, the precious surprises, the unexpected gifts that come into our lives. They may be more numerous than before. She has always used her connections to help us -- and now she is connected to the source of all kindness.
Her giving won’t end with her dying. It will go on. It will rise up. She will do more than before. Ann is relentless. She is irrepressible. Her affection, her loyalty, her dedication, her devotion are undying. She is not done loving us."
We love you Ann! ❤️❤️❤️
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