Blake MacKenzie

Blake MacKenzie

Blake MacKenzie's journey with Habitat began in 2013, and in that time he's worked as a Development Assistant Intern, Advocacy Intern, Development Associate, and is now the Communications Specialist. Prior to Habitat, he graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead with majors in English Writing and Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and worked as a Community Organizer. He's an avid reader, makes a good risotto, and enjoys the great outdoors.

Building Community Blog

We are thrilled to announce that Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has received $247,108 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs.

This investment will support 26 AmeriCorps members total—22 at Twin Cities Habitat, and an additional 4 who will serve with other Habitat affiliates throughout Minnesota. AmeriCorps members in our program serve in three, six, or twelve-month positions. Without their dedicated service, Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the country would struggle to meet the needs of their communities.

Nicolas Mendler is excited to bring his expertise to the newly created Data and Intake Specialist role on the Homeowner Development team. His smattering of experiences fit in perfectly with the work he’ll be doing. But the journey that led him to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity wasn’t direct, spanning sectors and crisscrossing continents.

Kathy and David will never forget their first night in their Habitat home. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and they had closed on the home earlier that day. Leaving their two young boys with David’s parents, they grabbed their sleeping bags and some food for dinner and went to their new home—just the two of them.

“It was so surreal,” says Kathy. “Everything we did – turning on a light, eating dinner on the floor, doing dishes in the sink – reminded me that this was actually my home.”

Chester: an Army Veteran in need of some repair work so he could stay in his longtime home.

Josh: a Senior Operations Manager at Allianz and co-chair of Allianz’s Operation: SERVE, looking for a way to support local veterans so they can stay in their homes as they grow older.

They both found Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness paint and repair program. With additional funding and support from the Home Depot Foundation and the City of Minneapolis, it was a perfect match.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity was presented with the Spinnaker Award on May 11 by Minnetonka Public Schools. The award is given annually to "Individuals or groups who exemplify volunteerism, community and serving the greater good. Like the spinnaker on a sailboat, the groups or individuals recognized with this award are out in front, full-sail, leading us toward the fulfillment of our dreams." We were nominated for the award by Minnetonka High School’s VANTAGE program for being one of their best project sponsors.

If you've ever volunteered with Twin Cities Habitat, you've likely worked with an AmeriCorps member on site. The work and impact of Twin Cities Habitat would not be possible without the commitment of AmeriCorps members. The program is unique because it gives members the chance to develop their skills by leading and acting out the mission of Habitat while devoting a year to service.

Every Wednesday for the last nine years, Sharlene and John Hensrud “unplug.” Their work as realtors keeps them busy on the weekends, but on Wednesdays they don’t schedule any appointments with clients. Instead, they spend time together, they cook, and in the evening their children and grandchildren come to their home for dinner. They talk about their days, they laugh and cry and eat together. This is the power of home.

“I’ve always wanted to design buildings and focus on the built environment,” said Nick Engling. “I wasn't getting a lot of satisfaction with some of the projects I was working on, and I wanted to use my skills on something I care about.”

As a Structural Engineer, Nick has put his skillset to work designing various buildings throughout the metro, including luxury and other apartment complexes, and has traveled the country doing structural forensic analysis. But volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has given him an outlet for his skillset in a way that truly helps others.

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