Habitat for Humanity nears goal

PARKERSBURG – Wood County Habitat for Humanity is working hard to reach a fundraising goal by next month.

Wood County Habitat for Humanity announced this week it has passed the $90,000 mark in its quest to raise $100,000 by Valentine’s Day in the Caring Campaign. Money raised through the campaign is used for administration and building costs and to help the organization toward its plans to build four to six houses in 2013.

Executive Director Alvin Phillips said the group mounted its first campaign in several years this past fall, and set an ambitious goal of $100,000 in four months.

“I initially suggested $50,000, but our new resource development coordinator, Lisa Collins, said we could do a hundred. So that’s what we aimed for,” he said.

Over the years many people and companies have donated materials and time to Habitat projects, Collins said. However, sometimes the organization just needs money for administrative functions, pay for certain things on projects and to make sure the houses get built.

”This is a way to establish an annual fund drive to raise money,” Collins said. ”Wood County Habitat For Humanity is building four to six houses a year so more fundraising is needed.”

The group built four houses in 2012 for 19 people, with the help of approximately 85 volunteers and 2,500 hours per house.

Houses are built in partnership with families who meet qualifying criteria, and are then sold to them with an interest-free mortgage and a manageable house payment. Families are expected to provide a minimum number of “sweat equity” hours toward their own houses and others.

Collins is pleased with how well the efforts have gone in this campaign, which started Oct. 1.

”We have one month to finish,” she said.

They have done mailings and visited businesses seeking support. Collins has found a lot of local businesses that wanted to help Habitat, but had not been approached in the past. A lot of individuals have stepped up and donated.

Collins believes a $100,000 annual goal can be attainable.

The group has received major gifts toward the goal, from groups like the McDonough Foundation and a couple of large individual donors, Phillips said. Many of the gifts have been in the $50 to $200 range.

“It takes everyone pooling their resources to raise money this quickly,” he said. “We are fortunate to have a recognizable brand that inspires confidence in donors.”