In August of 2015 our Board of Directors approved an ambitious plan to raise the minimum wage for non-probationary employees to $15.00 per hour. For months now we at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County have been working toward that goal. Today we’re excited to announce our hard-won success: Habitat Store Whatcom now pays its staff living wages.
Aligning Mission and Operations
Our mission at Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing conditions throughout the world. In the words of John Moon, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, “It seems disingenuous to fight against poverty but pay poverty wages.” To better align our operations with our mission, a wage increase was necessary. Store staff, led by Manager Julia Menkee, has worked diligently for over 8 months to increase donations which in turn increases sales, thereby turning Habitat Store Whatcom into a retailer that can prioritize a living wage for its staff.
Strong Store, Strong Mission
It’s not just the staff who benefit from a stronger-performing Habitat Store. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County – like any organization – has overhead. With its unprecedented level of financial support, the store helps to defray those costs. And when overhead is earned and not supported by donations, all donations help more families in need of a simple, decent, affordable home. “This means, true to Habitat’s hand-up, not hand-out core value, donations are invested and not consumed,” says John Moon. “As Habitat homes are sold at cost, not given away, purchased or donated materials are transformed into a mortgage income stream and the mortgage income stream purchases building materials for the next project.”
Help Keep Our Store Strong
The success of the Habitat Store and the Habitat Living Wage Initiative depends on the generosity of Whatcom County residents donating new and gently used household and construction items. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County has successfully completed 40 projects since 1988 and is looking forward to beginning a 24-home project in Bellingham in 2017. Your donations help keep our store strong and help to turn home projects from great ideas to life-altering realities. Your donations build homes and change lives!