Month: May 2016
Habitat Store Pays Living Wage
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!
Another Roof Raised
We had a fantastic time at our 14th Annual Raise the Roof Auction on Saturday evening, held for the first time at our Habitat Store on Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham. With around 175 guests and another 25 or so volunteers and staff, we definitely had a full house!
Over drinks and delicious appetizers (made and served by Linda Clow – one of our partner homebuyers – and volunteers from the Acme Presbyterian Church) we perused and bid on the wide variety of about 160 different silent auction items. From artwork and handcrafted pottery to gift baskets and getaways, there was plenty to tempt us all. Once the proverbial dust had settled from the competitive silent auction bidding, we got down to some very merry business in the form of the live auction led by local auctioneer and businessman, Michael Watters. A natural entertainer, Watters had us engaged and enjoying ourselves all evening. We dined on a barbecue spread catered by Dickey’s Barbecue in Ferndale then indulged in an array of desserts donated by local bakeries. By the end of the evening, we were full, smiling, and sporting lighter wallets!
Every Bid Matters
As much fun as we had, it’s the ‘sporting lighter wallets part’ that amounts to real change right here in our community. The unfortunate truth is that the average wage in Whatcom County is not enough to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. That’s just one of many difficult facts that motivates us here at Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County to keep raising roofs. Every auction item donated and sold is another step towards affordable home ownership, like our upcoming Telegraph Townhomes project, for local families. Habitat for Humanity builds strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter, and when you support events like our Raise the Roof Auction, you do more than just have a great time … you build homes.
We offer our heartfelt gratitude to every guest, sponsor, donor, and volunteer who helped make our 14th Annual Raise the Roof Auction both a delight and a success. To say we couldn’t have done it without you is understating things wildly. Visit our Auction photo album on Facebook to see more photos from Saturday night and follow us to learn more about what Habitat for Humanity is up to here in Whatcom County!
Thank You for a Successful Women Build 2016
This past weekend saw seventy (that’s seven zero, people!) enthusiastic Women Build volunteers at the future home of our Telegraph Townhomes project. What a turnout! Among the volunteers were Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville, Bellingham Council Members Pinky Vargas and April Barker, Kulshan Community Land Trust Executive Director Dean Fearing, Kulshan Community Land Trust Board President Dan Dunne, and Lowe’s Store Manager Debbie Yates. We were also very fortunate to have the experience and expertise of the women carpenters of North Sound Carpenters Union, Local #70 on hand. Our goal for the day was to build the framing for a Volunteer Welcome Center that will serve as the base of operations throughout the entire construction period of our exciting Telegraph Townhomes project which is expected to begin in earnest in the Spring of 2017. We’re delighted to report that we accomplished that goal and then some!
Women Build 2016
The morning began with Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County Board President Ray Dellecker leading the assembled group in prayer. Afterwards we heard from Mayor Kelli Linville, Debbie Yates, Dean Fearing, and our own Executive Director John Moon who said:
No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. At Habitat for Humanity this is what unites us and causes us to gather today. Through shelter we empower. Today, with sincere appreciation to the good folks at Lowe’s and our Women Build leadership team we welcome and thank you as we build upon this ground and take one more step in our journey to ensure that every single one of us has the opportunity for a better, stronger future.
After those inspiring words, our Construction Project Manager Paul Stromdahl put us all to work!
Every Helping Hand is a Building Block
Thanks to every helping hand we were able to successfully complete our project which means we’re one small step closer to building shelter for 24 local families through our Telegraph Townhomes project. To see more photos of the build, check out our National Women Build Week album on Facebook.