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May 8, 2024 Community, Fundraising, Partnerships

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia Celebrates Homeowners, Volunteers and Partners at Building Hope Luncheon

The signature event raised nearly $725,000 to build and repair homes alongside Philadelphia families.

On Thursday, May 2, more than 800 affordable housing advocates gathered at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown to celebrate the transformative power of homeownership at Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s ‘Building Hope Luncheon.’

The inspiring program featured uplifting homeowner stories, special recognition of key volunteers and partners, and a call to action to unlock much-needed resources to build and repair homes.


Avery Martinez shares his Habitat story at the Building Hope Luncheon. His mother, Karen (left) bought her Habitat home in 2017 when Avery was a teenager. | Photo by Ellie Seif

Habitat family member Avery Martinez, a law student with a goal of buying his own home, honored his mother Karen’s journey to homeownership and the lessons it taught him about perseverance and justice.

“Access to homeownership is a fundamental human right,” said Martinez, “I believe Habitat builds a more equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”


Darrell Hendricks, Habitat homeowner (right), welcomes supporters to the Building Hope Luncheon alongside Kathryn Fernandez, Chief Development Officer. | Photo by John Stritzinger

Habitat homeowner Darrell Hendricks testified to the life-changing experience of homeownership, the feeling of peace that comes with knowing his children have a warm and secure home where dreams are built and milestones celebrated.


Jerry Kreider, former Habitat Philadelphia board member (left), with current Board Chair, Donald E. Moore. | Photo by Cary Porter

Jerry Kreider, former Habitat board member, was honored for nearly three decades of leadership and support with the Patrick F. Monaghan Good Neighbor Award.

“Habitat makes me feel content deep down,” said Kreider, “that I’ve made a difference and it’s going to be here for the next 50 or 100 years doing more for other people.”


Tim Abell, President and CEO, Firstrust Bank (left) with Corinne O’Connell, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. | Photo by Ellie Seif

The inaugural Carter Builder Achievement Award, named after the decades of servant leadership witnessed by Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, was presented to Firstrust Bank, in recognition of their unwavering commitment to invest in Philadelphia neighborhoods.

“Firstrust Bank is deeply honored to receive the inaugural Carter Builder Achievement Award from Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia,” said Tim Abell, who accepted the award on behalf of the bank. “At Firstrust, we are committed to being more than just a financial institution – we are dedicated to being a true partner in building stronger, more resilient communities. Our longstanding collaboration with Habitat Philadelphia embodies this mission, and we are proud to continue working alongside this remarkable organization to create affordable housing and transform lives.”

“Like Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Firstrust lifts up community, and they’ve certainly lifted up Habitat Philadelphia,” said Corinne O’Connell, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. “Together, Firstrust and Habitat have partnered to bring the Oxford Green and Coltrane Commons housing developments to life and open a second Restore location. Tim, thank you for always taking my call – listening, investing, swinging a hammer – and leading with yes to bring more Habitat families home.”

O’Connell crystalized the impact of Habitat for Humanity’s work, saying, “Habitat is in the ‘One Day’ and ‘Day One’ business. One day, we will build a Philadelphia where everyone has a decent place to live. Day one for future Habitat homeowners starts today.”

Charged with this call to action, hundreds of dedicated Habitat supporters and partners, including The Farber Family Foundation, Prosperity Home Mortgage and Home Services Foundation for Housing Equity, raised $723,966 to build more affordable homes and provide critical home repairs alongside Philadelphia families.

For the 132 children who are currently growing up in a Habitat Philadelphia home, this overwhelming support is a collective promise to build hope and community for generations to come.

See more photos and videos from the Building Hope Luncheon