Building Community Blog

If you visited a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) build site in North Minneapolis in September, you might have felt like everyone on the site was somehow familiar. You wouldn’t have been experiencing déjà vu; the sense of familiarity would have come from the fact that all 27 people on the build site were related.

Historically, Minnesota’s best business leaders have been able to look beyond their company’s bottom line and ask themselves: How do we strengthen our entire region for the future? This collective foresight has resulted in a great standard of living in the state and a long tradition of corporate and individual philanthropy.

September 21st was the day 3M had designated as its Global Volunteer Day, a day where employees are encouraged to go out into their communities to do service work. For 25 current employees, and 4 alumni, that meant spending the day helping to build townhomes in a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity development in Cottage Grove. Other groups of 3M employees were working at different Habitat projects, or at a wide assortment of community organizations throughout the Twin Cities.

Rainbow Build is a special, week-long initiative that brings together awareness of affordable housing programs in the community and education about how to advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Allied (LGBTQA+) families currently living without decent housing.

Throughout the week (August 24th-August 28th) eighty-two volunteers, community supporters and family partners gathered to work together on two Habitat homes in Richfield. In addition to countless individual volunteers Rainbow Build hosted crews from Gay4Good, Hell’s Kitchen, Target, Thomson Reuters and Voya Financial during the week. 

Each build day was paired with conversations about barriers to affordable housing and an introduction to many of the advocacy programs working for LGBTQ families in the 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. 

General_Mills_crewTwenty-five years ago General Mills sent out a team of employee volunteers to spend a week working on a homebuilding project with a still-young organization called Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. None of the volunteers really knew what to expect when they got to that first home site, but having a day out of the office and a chance to work with their hands was enough to motivate them to volunteer. Three of those original volunteers have continued volunteering for all 25 years General Mills has been a Habitat Partner.

A little financial wisdom goes a long way, and one of the wisest pieces of wisdom is to develop a budget and live within it. For most people that means listing their expenses and subtracting them from their income to see how much is left over for savings, investing, vacations, etc. When you have a paycheck, it’s a fairly simple process. But when you’re a nonprofit, like Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, it’s not so simple.

Breck School seniors spent two weeks in May on site with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. They spent one full week helping build a new home in Fridley, and a second week doing painting and repairs on an ABWK project in Minneapolis. For several of the group this was the second year in a row they’d spent their “May Program” volunteering with Habitat.

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