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Habitat Kent Blog

Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

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     Home connects us all. It is a place we feel peace and community. Renewal Real Estate reflects this truth to connect the homes of their clients to the homes of Habitat families. 

     Located in Caledonia, MI Renewal Real Estate “invests in the future of Michigan by contributing 10% of all gross profits to organizations making a difference in the lives of people, neighborhoods, and cities throughout the State.”

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The Beer City Saxophone Ensemble played a concert this holiday season to benefit Habitat Kent. I sat down with one of the bandleaders of the group, Gary McCourry. He shares his Habitat story that began in New York City and has flourished in West Michigan. Music can be a platform for powerful change in the simple and big ways. 


change in the simple and big ways. 
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     There are a little over 1.5 million nonprofit charities in the United States with unique missions and ideals*. But remaining sustainable over time can be crucial to the success of a nonprofit's vision. Habitat Kent is thankful to have over 30 years of building hope in Kent County through a sustainable model.

     Habitat Kent cannot build a home without volunteers and donors. The past two years Habitat Kent has engaged over 19,000 volunteers that helped make the building and repairing of homes possible. By volunteering free labor, the construction team can build a home for a sliver of the cost of a commercial build because of the overwhelming volunteerism on sites.

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     State Farm has given $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Kent County for their Homebuyer Financial Education Program for the 2015 year.

     The finances will go towards specific programs that Habitat Kent homebuyers are required to take as a part of their sweat equity hours necessary to buy a home. These programs include Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which has a national partnership with Habitat for Humanity International.

     The donation was through State Farm’s Good Citizenship Grant under education that states “better educated communities includes providing access to personal financial education and job training,” according to the State Farm website. 

     State Farm has donated $22,000 total in the last two years benefitting Habitat Kent’s homebuyer financial education program.

     “We are grateful for State Farm’s continued investment in providing our homebuyers with quality financial education programs that will impact them for the rest of their lives,” said Jon Hankins, Corporate Relations Specialist at Habitat Kent. 

     Members of State Farm that spurred on the giving to Habitat Kent are Public Affairs Specialist Nick Metzger and State Farm Agent Marsha Veenstra who serves on Habitat Kent’s board of directors. 

About State Farm

State Farm and its affiliates is the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve over 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available.


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     “We just liked the idea that we could do something to help someone get a roof over their head,” Dave resounded. “It’s tough to have a good day if you don’t have a roof over your head.”

     It is a rare occurrence to meet someone, let alone two people, who embody so many qualities that you admire. Laurie and Dave Russell are compassionate, inventive, humble, and hopeful. They have been consistent donors, volunteers, and enthusiasts at Habitat for Humanity of Kent County for upwards of two decades. The act of giving back through Habitat Kent is a trait they fostered in their children from a young age and grew to become a family bonding tradition. Beyond their plentiful labor on work sites, their generous spirit will continue to help others in a new way: the Dave and Laurie Russell Family Scholarship for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Families.  

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425 Pleasant Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503