Building Community Blog

It was pouring rain when I arrived at the Twin Cities Habitat build site in Richfield, MN. I'd been asked to shoot some video of a group of volunteers from Ergodyne, a company that builds professional quality work gear, but it was raining so hard I wasn't sure there would be any work going on. It didn't take long to discover there was definitely work going on...a lot of work.

The U.S. Bank Foundation, a longtime partner of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, has once again provided a generous grant for our A Brush with Kindness program, supporting all painting and repairs projects for the month of August. This remarkable commitment of financial contributions and volunteer time is touching the lives of nine families in the metro area.

Habitat homebuilding sites are usually hives of activity. You’ll see volunteers on ladders installing roofs, using power saws to cut lumber, hoisting windows into place, or brushing on a coat of paint. All volunteers have the opportunity to learn new skills, but no one is required to do anything beyond their skills or comfort. Some, like Christy Unterschuetz, just “do what they can do.” In Christy’s case, that’s a lot. 

One key to running a successful nonprofit is finding partners whose work aligns closely with (or complements) your mission. A very smart woman I know summed it up as, “You must have mutually beneficial partnerships.” After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch—not even in the nonprofit world. This is a strategy that has worked great at bringing significant corporate investment to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s mission over the past 30 years.

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