December 6, 2013 | Leave a Comment
On Tuesday, December 3, people across the world celebrated the second annual #GivingTuesday, a day of giving designed to follow commercial “shopping holidays” on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco community joined in to celebrate, and here are a few of the highlights from the day:
We spent the month leading up to #GivingTuesday sharing information with our online community about the national #GivingTuesday campaign, and our specific campaign for Habitat Greater San Francisco. This included tweets, Facebook posts and e-news save-the-dates. We encouraged people to download a calendar reminder to join us in celebrating on December 3 from our campaign page (which was visited more than 300 times).
We were featured in several national and local media outlets talking about our campaign:
Charities mimic retailers’ strategy with #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday live blog
#GivingTuesday links charity to gathering places
Bay area charities counting on #GivingTuesday
San Francisco nonprofits hope Cyber Monday savings go to #GivingTuesday
We sent two emails to our list of supporters, which were the source of 70% of our #GivingTuesday donations.
On December 3, we asked you not only to donate what you could, but to spread the word on social media, in person and via email: On Twitter, we tweeted 50+ times, were mentioned 40 times (like the above) and were retweeted 28 times, reaching 136,000 people. We posted to Facebook 10 times, reaching 2,675 people who clicked, liked, commented and shared our posts 220 times.
In a little more than 24 hours, 60 donors raised $6,000 dollars, 120% of our goal
Of our 60 donors who gave on #GivingTuesday:
31 donations were from first time donors
34 donations were from volunteers
14 donations were from staff (that’s a third of our total staff!). They were so excited about supporting our work for #GivingTuesday that most of them took “unselfies” to share with family and friends (and you).
October 30, 2013 | 1 Comment
Maria, a former AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader, reflects on her transition from finishing the 36-condo homes at 7555 Mission to starting the 28 townhomes at Habitat Terrace earlier this year. Habitat Terrace currently needs volunteers to continue this work; learn more about volunteering here.
One day we were watching families move couches into homes we had just completed and the next, we were reporting to an empty lot, digging holes for fence posts. In April, Habitat Greater San Francisco completed work on the 36 homes at 7555 Mission and began working in full-force on the 28 homes at Habitat Terrace.
As a 2012-2013 AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader, I came into the 7555 Mission project when it was about eight months from completion. At that point, Habitat had been working on the site for more than two years and some portions of the development were largely finished. Most of the insulation was in; most of the walls were up; all of the framing was done. The first volunteer group I ever led was an interior paint crew. We spackled and sanded interior trim, and then laid on two coats of semi-gloss paint.
For the next eight months, the team of staff members, AmeriCorps, regular volunteers, interns and day volunteers would work to polish off 7555 Mission. Every AmeriCorps was assigned one or two sets of units to see to completion. That meant long lists of sometimes tedious punch-work: checking that cabinet doors were level, installing door knobs, caulking, cleaning, testing appliances, more caulking, more cleaning, patching holes, touch-up painting, more caulking, more cleaning, more caulking.
As we raced to finish everything by the homeowner dedication ceremonies, I felt equal parts sadness and excitement. 7555 Mission was full of memories for me. I had met so many people and learned so many things. I had (albeit temporarily) conquered my fear of heights. I had seen a paint-filled cesspool transformed into a lush planter.
It’s been several months since the completion of 7555 Mission. Despite how hard I thought it might be to say goodbye to the only thing I’ve ever helped to build, the plunge into Habitat Terrace filled the void. The work was different. The hammers got bigger – finish to framing – and so did the nails.
But it was a different, slower time. Instead of racing to pass final inspections, we were waiting for building permits. For several weeks, AmeriCorps worked on site alone, prefabricating framing components and getting kinks worked out before regular and day volunteers started up again. Instead of coming to work every day and seeing the fruits of our labor in a three-story building, we saw them in a quarter-mile of fence posts.
The first time I led a crew at Habitat Terrace was doing site work. That meant relocating a dozen 80-pound bags of concrete, lifting a heavy-duty tool box and porta-potty onto the flatbed truck, driving them to the other side of site, unloading them, and then coming back to carry plywood. It was a hard, heavy day, far different from the first day of interior painting at 7555 Mission.
Volunteers often come to Habitat Terrace and want to know what it will look like when it’s done. When you explain, you can’t blame them if they furrow their brow: It’s hard to look at a plot of land and envision 28 houses. In some regard, it’s even hard for me to envision it. I recently drove past 7555 Mission – just to check on it – and there it was, just as big and brown as we’d left it. Though, perhaps a little more green: the trees have started to grow in nicely. Meanwhile, Habitat Terrace is rapidly changing. I’m looking forward to the day I return and don’t recognize it.
October 24, 2013 | Leave a Comment
Why I Build is a blog series from Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco community members–volunteers, donors, staff, homeowners and more–about what we do, why we’re here, and why we build. Here, our 2013-2014 AmeriCorps volunteers share why they choose to serve.
In September, four new AmeriCorps joined six returning volunteers, committing to a year of National Service with our affiliate building homes, speaking to potential homeowners, working with community partners and more. Without further ado, we’re pleased to introduce you to our AmeriCorps:
Andrew, Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Coordinator, 2nd year
San Diego, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I can’t leave my NRI baby
I’m most excited about: cleaning needle bushes at park beautifications
Chuck, Construction Crew Leader, 2nd year
San Jose, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I like construction
I’m most excited about: group outtings
Dan, Construction Crew Leader, 2nd year
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I want to help families become homeowners though Habitat
I’m most excited about: teaching people how to swing a hammer
David, Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Construction, 1st year
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I want to serve others and gain some great work experience!
I’m most excited about: Life!
Emily, Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Construction, 1st year
San Diego, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I dug the job description
I’m most excited about: Talledega, Alabama
Minh, Family Selection Coordinator, 2nd year
Garden Grove, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: Learning “social work lite”; getting introduced to a field I’m interested in as a career
I’m most excited about: Build-a-Thon
Karen, Construction Crew Leader, 2nd year
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: It is a great way to get hands on experience before obtaining a desk job
I’m most excited about: doing hard labor
Kimberly, Construction Crew Leader, 2nd year
San Francisco, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I loved my first year!
I’m most excited about: framing! And meeting new and more volunteers
Peter, Construction Crew Leader, 1st year
Redwood City, Calif.
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: As a construction leadership intern this summer, I was able to work alongside AmeriCorps members and became very interested in the program via their enthusiasm. When the opportunity came for me to join the team I was elated!
I’m most excited about: learning more about construction, gaining experience at the Habitat Terrace site, and getting to know more about my fellow AmeriCorps members.
Steph, Construction Crew Leader, 1st year
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps because: I think it will be a great experience
I’m most excited about: working with and meeting new people!
September 30, 2013 | Leave a Comment
Why I Build is a blog series from Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco community members–volunteers, donors, staff, homeowners and more–about what we do, why we’re here, and why we build. Here, volunteer Greg shares his memories of his first day volunteering, and why he keeps coming back.
My first interaction with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco came in the form of volunteering one Saturday late last year at the (now completed) 7555 Mission condominium construction site in Daly City. Not only did I get the best physical workout I’ve had in years, but I also got to use awesome power tools and meet an extraordinarily diverse, energetic and dedicated group of Habitat staff and volunteers. I am a former investment banking professional who, for a little over 20 years, specialized in providing capital market services to a large number of national single-family home lenders and builders. So, I am no novice to home building or the exceptionally integral concept of home ownership as a basic, fundamental right for all who want it. My experience that beautiful day at 7555 Mission was the first time, however, I got out of the office and out of my suit and tie, and got my hands dirty digging trenches for pipes, jack-hammering, sawing and framing (see below photo for proof).
I was hooked! The level of enthusiasm, energy, devotion, camaraderie and all-around-fun on that construction site was completely addictive. We were helping build homes for truly deserving families and having fun and making new friends while doing so. I subsequently volunteered there several more times and fully intend to do so at other Habitat sites in the future. Additionally, for the last several months I have volunteered at weekly at Habitat’s office in San Francisco. As an office volunteer I do all sorts of different, administrative things: mailings, filing, making donor thank you calls, basically whatever they need help with at the moment. This volunteer work enables me to contribute to a cause I have always strongly believed in—homeownership for struggling, hard-working families—combined with the chance to rub elbows with the Habitat Greater San Francisco staff, one of the most dynamic, friendly and dedicated group of individuals I have ever encountered.
Like so many of the wonderful, caring Habitat donors I make thank you calls to and who have been giving to Habitat consistently and conscientiously year after year, I believe and support all the good which Habitat stands for…and I intend to keep coming back, volunteering as often as I can.
September 24, 2013 | 2 Comments
Time flies when you’re having fun, and anyone who’s shopped, volunteered or donated at the ReStore can attest to this. That’s why we’re so excited that we’re already celebrating our one year anniversary of the store that builds homes in San Carlos. In addition to a big bash on Saturday, September 28, we’re celebrating with what we’re confidently calling a superlative list of superlative donations we’ve received in the past year. Without further ado…
With easily more than 50 of them, requiring hours of work sorting and storing by our AmeriCorps, these wine racks were gone in less than a week.
Anything in the lighting section. We have a volunteer who keeps it looking magical.
Everyone sat in it. Everyone asked about it. Everyone gave it a name: the cHair (emphasis on the “hair”), the caveman chair, the gamer chair… it was an elegantly hand-made piece of furniture assembled from fur and driftwood. These are just 10 of the more than 50,000 items the ReStore has sold in the last year–come take a look for yourself as we celebrate this special anniversary with big discounts, free food, raffles, games, prizes and more. The One Year Anniversary celebration is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday September 28 at 1411 Industrial Road in San Carlos. Get more details on Facebook or our website.
September 19, 2013 | Leave a Comment
On May 23 of this year, Elijah graduated from Westmoor High School in Daly City. Elijah describes his high school graduation day as lifting a heavy burden—staying focused in school was hard, especially because he had a hard time finding a quiet place to study.
He also remembers his mother crying, with joy, and his father’s palpable pride in his achievement.
“I actually almost didn’t graduate and I gave up on myself, but my parents are some of the most amazing people I know. They never gave up on me and helped me out. They made me open my eyes to what’s really important.”
It’s that tenacity Elijah learned from his parents that led them, Elijah, his older sister and younger brother to move into their new Habitat home at 7555 Mission in Daly City this past April, just weeks before Elijah finished high school. “I wanted to make things right, starting off college with a brand new home,” says Elijah, “instead of not graduating. My family no longer needs to rent and keep moving around the city, looking for cheap and nice apartments. And I saw the whole house come together. It’s an unbelievable experience to be able to live in a house you built with your own hands.”
“The sweat equity experience will help me in college because I learned building these homes that I need the help of others to get the job done and to listen to instructions very carefully, because everything needs to be precise.”
Elijah started his classes at Skyline College just a few weeks ago, and already things are looking up. “The location of my new home has helped me a lot in my study habits, because it’s very convenient to be near BART. It has allowed me to get home fast and focus on my assignments.” Elijah says that both college and his new home have given him more freedom; he feels treated like an adult, which also means paying for his classes and books now. “So I’m giving it all I’ve got to get an A in every class I have.”
August 28, 2013 | Leave a Comment
Why I Build is a blog series from Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco community members–volunteers, donors, staff, homeowners and more–about what we do, why we’re here, and why we build. Here, staff member Christine shares why she’s loved working here the past three years.
When I first joined Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco as an AmeriCorps in Fall 2010, we were working on a few rehabs and waiting to start construction at 7555 Mission. Now, three years later, we’ve completed those rehabs and 36 condominiums from the ground up, started 28 new homes, and expanded our work to include home and community facility repairs. All this would not be possible without our creative and dynamic culture, one of the many things that I love about Habitat.
Here are the top 4 reasons I build, Letterman style.
We have an ambitious vision to build 400 homes by 2020, one that we can achieve. We have an 18 month strategic plan, and we have quarterly check-ins with departments to track progress. It’s great to have a vision, but it’s meaningless without a plan to get there. And in case you think this all sounds like work and no fun, we fondly call these check-ins “Shark Week” due to the high excitement around our goals. Everyone leaves these meetings with a sticker that says “I ♥ Shark Week.”
We have a culture where we celebrate one another’s individual and collective successes. We start our monthly staff meetings by giving kudos to others for an exceptional job well done. We end those same meetings with prizes to those that have creatively saved money.
I’ve had so many opportunities here at Habitat that I don’t think I would have had at another organization. I’ve had the ability to redesign our hiring process so that we’re hiring those that will advance us towards our 2020 vision; to implement an internal newsletter so that we are all informed of what is going on at Habitat; and to oversee an AmeriCorps program of 12 members, without whom we wouldn’t be able to build homes on such an impressive scale. I know that when I have ideas, I have the support to make them happen.
I’ve mentioned that we are very goal driven, but we are incredibly food driven as well. Local tech companies may have free food, but we also have something that brings people together: bi-monthly potlucks and annual pie expos. Past potluck themes have included mac n cheese, avocado and southern food. Nothing brings people together for a common mission like mac n cheese pancakes and a root beer float.