Building Houses, Building Hope, Building Philadelphia

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Habitat Engages

Habitat Engages

Poverty housing is an issue too big for Habitat to tackle on our own.  Partnerships are essential to our mission—from individual volunteers to corporate sponsors, relationships with the community are the lifeblood of our work. 

Team Rubicon’s Story

For many military veterans, dedication to the greater good lasts a lifetime—and that’s something that Jenna Brandolini knows well.  “Studies say that more than 90 percent of people who have left the military want to continue serving their country or their community,” she says.  Jenna volunteers as the Pennsylvania Engagement Coordinator for Team Rubicon, a national non-profit group that organizes military veterans for emergency disaster relief across the world.  And when they aren’t responding to a disaster?  In September 2014, for the first time ever, Team Rubicon volunteers converged in Philadelphia for three days to help us build and repair homes—part of Boots For Building, a unique event planned in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation and Habitat For Humanity International.

Habitat For Humanity Philadelphia Volunteer Veteran

The partnership made sense.  “We’re always looking for events and service projects in the community that connect to Team Rubicon’s mission,” says Jenna—and Habitat For Humanity was the perfect fit.  “It’s recognizing someone else in the community that wants to work really hard for a mission, to achieve their goal of homeownership.  Our members really see the benefit in that and want to support future homeowners in achieving their dream of getting a house.”  Over the three days of Boots For Building, Team Rubicon volunteers pushed construction forward on six new Habitat homes, and helped Habitat complete major home repairs for a Vietnam-era veteran homeowner in Germantown, completely transforming his house. 

Since Boots For Building, Team Rubicon volunteers have dedicated over 1100 volunteer hours to Habitat construction projects across the city.  “A lot of these guys and girls have skill sets in building and construction from their outside careers,” says Jenna.  “So they are able to quickly jump into a Habitat site and support the work that’s being done.”  And the years they’ve spent in the military means that Team Rubicon volunteers are natural leaders.  Jenna says that’s one of the most important things about Team Rubicon.  “They have leadership skills that they’ve spent years developing—and that we often forget about when they come back home.” 

And that’s why our partnership with Team Rubicon is about more than just volunteering.  Jenna says it’s also a way for veterans to re-engage at home while putting their military training to good use.  “A lot of people come out of the military and don’t know what to do because no job feels the same—they’re missing that service and leadership piece,” she says.  “Habitat reconnects them with that sense of purpose that they may have lost after leaving the military.  They see that this is what they’re good at.  They can handle this.”

Wells Fargo’s Story

Corporate partners are an essential part of our work.  For the past several years, Wells Fargo has partnered with Habitat Philadelphia and in many other communities throughout the United States to help families break the cycle of poverty and build long-term financial security.  Locally, in the last year, Wells Fargo provided $45,000 in financial support to Habitat Philadelphia, in addition they contributed 225 volunteer hours by Wells Fargo team members on our homebuilding and home repair construction sites. 

Phil Patrone, Loan Team Manager and Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, is a member of Habitat Philadelphia’s Board of Directors who led a recent Wells Fargo team volunteer day with Habitat.  “The Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia slogan in Building Houses, Building Hope, Building Philadelphia.  After the July volunteer event, I would add ‘Building Teams,’ too,” he said.  “Sixteen Wells Fargo team members worked in 95-degree weather to assist Habitat in building a dream for someone.  These builds are about contributing to someone who might never own a home were it not for Habitat and companies like Wells Fargo that make financial contributions and provide paid time off to team members to volunteer.”

Nationwide, Wells Fargo has donated more than $40 million to Habitat for Humanity International and affiliates combined in the past five years through the company’s Wells Fargo Housing Foundation commitment to support affordable and sustainable housing. Wells Fargo team members have been involved in 30 Habitat builds throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware in 2014 and 2015, while providing more than $470,000 in grants in the region. 

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