Guest Post: Grand Traverse Region and Dow

The Dow Chemical Company wanted to celebrate HFHM's 20th Annual Awards Banquet by giving away $20,000. We proposed a blog contest, focusing on the impact of Dow products on the families who we serve. Periodically, we will share the entries we received. This week's blog post is from one of the three contest winners. 

Skydiving and Homeownership: Not as different as you'd think

The Habitat Michigan team is back in action this week, refreshed and mostly recovered from our annual Affiliates in Motion conference and Annual Awards Banquet last week. Thank you to all the affiliates, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, public officials, and everyone else who made the week so special! A special congratulations once more to all of our award winners and honorees.

AIM Day 2

Good morning, Habitat friends! We are kicking off day two of AIM, and it's been a great conference so far. Yesterday we welcomed over 250 friends to the Lansing Center, and we've still got more to come today. Our Exhibitors are here and ready to mingle, and our silent auction items from the Prison Build program and St. Johns High School Wood Technology program are garnering a lot of interest.

Welcome to the 2016 Affiliates in Motion Conference!

This week’s blog is coming to you live from AIM! AIM, or the Affiliates in Motion Conference, is a three-day conference held annually for affiliates across the state here in Lansing. It is a chance for staff, volunteers, board members, sponsors, and exhibitors from all of Michigan’s 65 affiliates to come together and network, share information, and celebrate the achievements of the year. This year is an even bigger event than ever: we have combined our AIM conference with our Annual Awards Banquet, now in its 20th year!

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

Americans all over the nation will be coming together throughout the next week in remembrance of the September 11th attacks. Since 2009, Congress has designated this day as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, and numerous organizations—including the Corporation for National & Community Service, corporate foundations, and many state and local volunteer agencies—will come together to implement one of the largest days of charitable service as a positive way to pay tribute to the lives transformed on that day.

A Labor of Love

This weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer: Labor Day weekend. Soon teachers and students will head back to class, the weather will begin to turn, and in the Habitat Michigan world, the summer build season begins to slow. While we take a long weekend to relax, catch up with family and friends, or work on those to-do lists we’ve been putting off, we should take some time to reflect on our personal labors.

The Habitat for Humanity Michigan Fund – Lending Services That Help Build Homes and Dreams

Did you know that Michigan is the only state in the country with a Habitat for Humanity organization that has its own mortgage company? To date, The Habitat for Humanity Michigan Fund services just under 4,000 mortgage loans at a value of more than $160 million. The Fund provides economical, professional, and compliant mortgage services to support Habitat Affiliates in building homes and putting God’s love into action.

Fact or Fiction? Tackling your Frequently Asked Questions

At Habitat Michigan, our staff frequently hears similar questions as we travel across the state. With Habitat for Humanity operating in 65 communities across Michigan, nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries, it’s no wonder we have volunteers and donors like you wanting to understand more about the organization you support. Part of Habitat Michigan’s role is to help educate our state on the work of Habitat and advocate for decent, affordable housing in the state.

Growing Hope in Huron Valley

On a hot, muggy afternoon, Crystal Kinard shows off her vegetable garden.

“This year, the only the thing that isn’t growing so well is my collard greens,” she remarks, pointing to a short, dark green, leafy plant. “I did broccoli again, and this year I added some lettuce.”

Be Smart, Giver…

When you write that check or click through your credit card information to support a good cause, you want to feel confident that money will go to the best possible purpose you intend to support. However, how do you know? We have all heard a story about someone doing something wrong with donated money, but it’s important not to lump all charities in with a few bad ones, since most of them are doing great work. There are ways you can be a smart giver. Here are some tips:

The Power of Tithing

At a home dedication in Zaire (modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1979, Sam Mompongo, the leader of the local Habitat affiliate, took up a collection and presented half of the money to Habitat for Humanity International founder Millard Fuller. This money was used to start a new Habitat affiliate in Guatemala. From that undesignated donation, the entire tithe program grew.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores: Providing Green, Great Deals For The Entire Community!

Do you like to recycle? Are you a thrift shopper who likes to find unique items at yard sales and consignment shops? Do you like a good discount? How about supporting your community? If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, then you should visit a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

ReStores are nonprofit home improvement donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public, at a fraction of retail cost.

Serving with Habitat: AmeriCorps Summer Members

AmeriCorps is a fantastic opportunity for people of all backgrounds, especially those who are in or just graduating college and need experience, folks looking at a job transition, or retirees who want to stay active in their community (and maybe get a little money to go back to school themselves or help their children or grandchildren pay for their education). Incorporated in 1993 through legislation signed by President Clinton, members serve with nonprofit agencies, schools, and local government organizations to improve the community through a variety of means.

Protecting your Home During Summer Vacation

With summertime officially in full swing, many people are taking some time to get away – to the beach, to visit family and friends, to get off the grid while camping, or if you’re like me, to enjoy a staycation at home and catch up on all those little projects I’ve been putting off during the week. Wherever you go to get away, you can give yourself some peace of mind by following a few tips to make sure your home is protected while you’re away.

Seeking the Freedom of Homeownership

Habitat for Humanity of Michigan and our affiliates love Independence Day – especially since we celebrate it all year long, every time a new family becomes independent Habitat home owners. In honor of our nation’s upcoming Independence Day, we offer these easy to follow, practical tips on how individuals can save up enough money to enjoy the freedom, liberty, and independence of home ownership!

Use Less (or make your own!)…

Green Team: Composting

Did you know that Habitat for Humanity of Michigan is a designated Green Organization through NeighborWorks? Our office has a Green Team committed to making sure the workplace is a healthy, safe, and environmentally conscious space. As part of that committment, members of the Green Team will periodically share green living tips with you to help you join us in making our environment a healthier place. This week, our Green Team Sustainability Officer Jessica Rick shares tips on the benefits of composting, and how to start a compost pile in your own yard!

Get the Most Out of Your Outdoor Space!

Summer weather is officially here! Are you looking to add some appeal to your outdoor space? Be sure to consider the following Deck Building Tips, Tricks, and Safety guidelines from HFHM’s Sustainable Building Specialist, Thom Phillips!

Finding Opportunity with NeighborWorks

This week, June 4 – 11, 2016 is NeighborWorks Week -- a week of neighborhood change and awareness. This year marks the 33rd annual week of service that brings together neighbors, businesspeople, elected officials, friends and volunteers to engage in community improvement projects. It is estimated 200 NeighborWorks network organizations across the U.S.

HFHI Volunteer Management Certification Training Offered

Habitat Michigan will once again offer the HFHI Volunteer Management Certification training to all Habitat staff. The training will be held in 3 parts: an in-person training on Thursday, May 12th, and 2 webinars held on May 19th and 26th.

Home Run for Habitat is Back!

We are thrilled to announce our continued relationship with Consumer’s Energy and the Detroit Tigers to offer the ‘Home Run for Habitat’ program again this year. ‘Home Run for Habitat’ (HRH) is a highly marketable and visible online campaign that challenges affiliates, donors and the community to give more to support Habitat’s local mission.

AmeriCorps Week is Here!

March 5-12 marks AmeriCorps Week, a time to celebrate and recognize the contributions of AmeriCorps members, alumni, and community partners to their communities and the nation.

AmeriCorps is a national service program that offers year-long intensive opportunities to people of all ages to serve their communities in a variety of ways, from assisting veterans and military families to rebuilding after a disaster to providing affordable housing options to community residents in need. Members receive a living stipend and an education award in thanks for their service.

Important announcement from Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM):

Thursday, March 3, two bills were introduced in the Michigan Senate to allow the expansion of payday lending products offered in the state.

Down Payment Assistance Updates February 2016

MSHDA has awarded HFHM with $825,000 in Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Forgivable Loan funding. The DPA Program provides up to $12,000 per single-family Habitat home with a qualified family and up to $350 reimbursement for pre-purchase counseling administered by a MSHDA or HUD certified counselor. Please see below for an important training related to the new DPA funding cycle, which is scheduled to run to November 30, 2016 (meaning all eligible activities must receive required approvals and close on or before 11/30/16).

Building a Donor Base webinar

Building a Donor Base: January 19, 2016

If you missed our recent webinar, Building a Donor Base, you can listen to the recording here: File2016-01-19_09.47_building_a_donor_base.mp4