Austin Habitat for Humanity’s CEO Announces Women Empowerment Initiative

April 22, 2021

Q: What is the Austin Habitat for Humanity Women Build?

A: The Austin Habitat for Humanity Women Build is a community project that engages and empowers women to create sustainable affordable housing in our community. It brings together women from all backgrounds, ages, skill sets, and industries to make a difference. The Women Build is an opportunity for women-owned and women-led organizations in the Austin community to partner with Austin Habitat to support women head of households and single moms hoping to achieve homeownership dreams.

Q: Who is involved with Women Build?

A: Austin’s top women leaders in the community. This year we are thrilled to announce that Heather Ladage with the Austin Business Journal, Nikki Graham with Bank of America, and Melinda Garvey, with Austin Woman Magazine and On The Dot, will be spearheading our exciting women’s initiative. These extraordinary women leaders empower family, the community, and their companies. In their role as Women Build Community Leaders they will be educating their networks and the community about the affordable housing crisis that we face here in Austin. In addition, promoting the excellent work that Austin Habitat for Humanity does to help provide more affordable housing solutions in Austin and Central Texas. This year’s Women Build Sponsors are Kendra Scott, DIRTT, Grifols, Bank of America, Workplace Resource, and Lowes. Thank you for your continued support of Austin Habitat for Humanity.

Q:  Why are Austin’s top women Leaders so passionate about Austin Habitat for Humanity?

A: We are so blessed to have Heather Ladage and Melinda Garvey on the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, and Nikki has been a longstanding partner of ours. In fact, Nikki and Heather have Co-Chair our Women’s Builds for the last three years. This year we have Melinda Garvey joining them to support our Women Build. When we asked Melinda why she supports Austin Habitat and she said, “I love that Austin Habitat for Humanity gives people a path to home ownership that might not be possible in a city like Austin where the cost of living is skyrocketing. The fact that 70% of Austin Habitat homes are sold to female heads of household and 50% to single moms just makes the mission all the more powerful.” These are women who are passionate about affordable housing and want to be a part of the solution.

Q:  Is this the first Women’s Build for Austin Habitat for Humanity?

A: It is not! A fun fact about Austin Habitat is that our Construction Director in the ’90s was a woman, and she partnered with Luci B. Johnson to coordinate our first Women Build. This year the Women Build sponsors will financially support and come to the construction site to help us build ten homes. During the month of May, you can stay connected to this remarkable initiative and hear directly from these incredible women leaders. We will feature them on the Austin Habitat for Humanity blog on our website. Readers can learn from the wisdom of these leaders and why women empowerment is important to them.

Q: Why do you feel it is so important to do something like this now?

A: When women connect, we succeed. When women give, we improve our world. When women build, we change Austin. This Women Build symbolizes our commitment to our families and the importance of building safe, affordable communities together. Austin Habitat neighborhoods are mainly comprised of women and children, and there are unique challenges these women face on their journey to financial independence and stability. We believe that strong women build strong communities.

Q: How can other women get involved with Women Build?

A: Participants of the Women Build can choose to raise funds and/or provide the volunteer muscle needed to build. Austin Habitat will determine a few Saturdays in the fall for the general public to volunteer in support of Women Build, this is a unique opportunity that we are offering. Stay tuned for the July Issue of Austin Woman magazine, where the Austin Habitat for Humanity Women Build will be featured and we will be announcing our Women Build days.

Q: What does “Sponsoring a Room” mean?

A: Our sponsors provide financial support to offset the cost of the construction materials and supplies to build the cost-effective Habitat homes. We wanted to offer our sponsors the opportunity to choose a room in a home that is meaningful to them or their company. For example, Bank of America decided to sponsor the front porch because the front porch symbolizes the Austin Habitat Homeowner’s access to a bright future.

Thank you to our Women Build Partners that help us build affordable housing!

 

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