Mayor Finch, Sonya Finch, Mary Himes, Cynthia Blumenthal, Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s team up for National Women Build Week

Want to see pictures from National Women Build Week?  Click here.

Local volunteers join women across the United States to create affordable housing

Women volunteers, Mayor Bill Finch, Sonya Finch, Mary Himes, Cynthia Blumenthal, Habitat CFC  and Lowe’s Heroes, raised their hammers for a Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County (Habitat CFC) home in recognition of National Women Build Week. National Women Build Week, held May 5-13, is a nationwide initiative of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program developed in partnership with Lowe’s.

This year’s theme, “The Build Generation,” reflects the event’s goal to recruit and train women volunteers, as well as welcome the next generation of Habitat Women Builders – young women, ages 18-24 – to help support Habitat’s mission to create affordable housing. Women volunteers from across Fairfield County kicked-off construction on Habitat CFC’s 8th Women Build sponsored home. Lowe’s is providing Habitat CFC a $5,000 Lowe’s store gift card, as well as in-store volunteer training to support of this Habitat for Humanity Women Build home.

Nearly 100 volunteers, including groups from General Electric’s Women’s Corporate Networking Group, RBS, IBM, Lowe’s of Milford, JoZ Events and Her Haven framed and raised walls on the 8th Women Build sponsored home being built on Whittier Street in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport.  This build represents an expansion of Habitat’s services to a new neighborhood in Bridgeport after the successful execution of 130 homes in the East Side.  In their 27 year history, Habitat CFC has served more than 650 individuals through the construction of 165 homes across Fairfield County.

“Whether it’s with donations or elbow grease, the contributions to Women Build has a significant, meaningful impact on families in a way that empowers them to succeed and transforms them into tax-paying contributors to our shared community,” said Mary Petro, who co-chairs Habitat CFC’s Women Build committee with Mary Ellen Gallagher.

Volunteers from GE's Women's Corporate Networking Group pose with Mayor Bill Finch, Sonya Finch, Mary Himes, Cynthia Blumenthal and Habitat homeowners during National Women Build Week 2012 in Bridgeport.

E! News correspondent and long-time Habitat supporter Kristina Guerrero, whose mother built her home in partnership with an affordable-housing organization in 1998, is building with her mother, sister and 25 women volunteers, in Los Angeles.

“My mom, brothers, sisters and I are living proof of the difference affordable housing can make in a family’s life,” said Guerrero. “I encourage all women to find ways to join Habitat this week. Whether it’s building alongside other volunteers or helping to recruit or train new volunteers, every effort helps families realize their dreams of homeownership. Through working together, we can make a difference in the lives of low-income families in need of affordable housing.”

Lowe’s, underwriter of Habitat’s Women Build program, has committed more than $1.3 million to National Women Build Week in support of 275 participating affiliates. National Women Build Week is one of the major initiatives supported through Lowe’s five-year, $20 million pledge to Habitat. As the underwriter of the Women Build program since 2004, Lowe’s conducts “How-To” clinics at stores to teach women construction skills, enabling them to support Habitat projects across the country.  Habitat CFC and Lowe’s of Milford hosted a “How-To” clinic to prepare women volunteers to build in Bridgeport.

“Lowe’s has been the proud sponsor of Habitat’s Women Build program since 2004,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “Women Build encourages women from all ages and walks of life to pick up their hammers and build affordable homes alongside local families. Lowe’s salutes all the women volunteers who take time to build this week and values the difference Lowe’s and Habitat are making in the lives of families across the nation.”

The U.S. Census Bureau reports more than 12 million children—one out of every six—are living in poverty in the United States, where more than 70 percent of Habitat’s U.S. houses are built in partnership with women heads-of-household.  According to a report on housing published by the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, virtually every family rental apartment or condominium developed in Bridgeport since 2005 or currently under construction is not affordable to Bridgeport’s families earning up to 80% of the Bridgeport area median income, which in 2010 is $86,600.  Habitat’s Women Build program recruits, educates and inspires women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities. Since the inception of Habitat’s Women Build program in 1998 more than 1,900 Habitat for Humanity Women Build houses have been constructed in partnership with low-income families.

About Lowe’s

Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The company’s signature education grant program, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education®, has donated nearly $5 million in grants to K-12 public schools every year since its inception in 2006. Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers support local community projects and our national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. In 2011, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $32 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  To learn more, visit

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit,  or follow us at at join Habitat’s blog community at

Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County is Awarded Challenge Grant

A Fairfield County Community Foundation donor advised fund holder who receives philanthropic advisory services from Fairfield County Community Foundation staff provides $15,000 in challenge funding for an additional Family Services Worker

Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County (Habitat CFC) successfully met the requirements of a challenge grant offered by a Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) donor advised fund holder who receives philanthropic advisory services from Fairfield County Community Foundation staff.  The terms of the $15,000 challenge grant required that Habitat CFC raise an additional $15,000 by April 15, 2012. The grant supports the salary of an additional worker in Habitat CFC’s family services department.

Bridgeport’s Mayor Bill Finch poses with Habitat homeowners at the affiliate’s Annual Meeting

“Our donor is very supportive of the family services program and thought a challenge grant could be an incentive for other private funding.  We have seen challenge grants really work well for nonprofits,” said Karen Brown Vice President of Programs at FCCF.

“We are grateful to FCCF and the donor advised fund holder for providing us with this opportunity, which helped us raise funds for this needed additional position and also helped us raise awareness  of the importance of our family services department’s work,” Berzin said.

About Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded $135 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit

Easton Cub Scout Pack #166 support newest Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County homeowner

Easton Cub Scout Pack #166 helped welcome new Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County (Habitat CFC) homeowner Nordia Black and her family into their new home by donating a basket of home goods to the family.  The scouts presented their gift on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the family’s home dedication ceremony.  Nordia is the single mother of five children, one of whom is reliant on a wheel chair and requires round the clock care.  The ADA compliant home, which was sponsored by Wheels in the Woods Foundation, provides the space and facilities required to care for Nordia’s special needs daughter and a back yard in which her other 4 children can play.

Habitat CFC provides safe, decent, affordable housing to low-income families in Fairfield County.  Habitat partner families must: currently be living in substandard housing; have income between 35-60% of the Area Median Income; have the ability to repay a 30 year 0% mortgage; and be willing and able to complete 500 hours of sweat equity.

For more information call 203-333-2642 or visit our website

Easton Cub Scouts Pierce Neunteufel, Aaron Chabannes, William Manusky and Mitchell Manusky present a gift basket of home goods to Habitat CFC’s newest homeowner Nordia Black.

To see pictures of Nordia’s dedication ceremony, click here.