After an extensive national search, the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County board of directors has appointedBriAnne McKee as executive director.
McKee brings more than a decade of experience to her new leadership role, most recently serving as the director of volunteer services before stepping into the position as interim director. She joined Habitat Kent as a mortgage application specialist in the homeowner services department in 2012.
More than 100 individuals applied for the position during the two-month long search to find a successor for Mary Buikema, who left earlier this year.
“We are very pleased that Bri is stepping into the executive director role,” Habitat Kent Board President Larry Erhardt Jr. said. “The hiring committee selected her after completing a national search. Bri was the top choice in a pool of exceptionally strong candidates from affiliates around the country as well as from local non-profit and for-profit professionals in the community.
"Bri's enthusiasm and clear direction will build on Habitat Kent’s incredible momentum as we continue to provide affordable home ownership opportunities to families in Kent County.”
McKee has spent the past decade working at housing agencies, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Salvation Army Booth Family Services and, most recently, the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness. She has a master’s in social work from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s in social work from Western Michigan University.
McKee is active in the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership and serves on the board of directors for Network180. She was a finalist for both the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year.
“I am humbled and thrilled to serve as executive director of Habitat Kent,” McKee said. “Habitat Kent is a strong organization, with many tools already set in place that will help ensure our continued success. I am looking forward to leading the team in continuing our work to facilitate affordable home ownership and neighborhood revitalization. We are also kicking off some of the biggest projects in our organization’s history, including Plaza Roosevelt. I am eager to work towards this success with our staff, our volunteers and our board of directors.”
In October, Habitat Kent announced its most ambitious project to date – Plaza Roosevelt, which aims to enhance the physical, service and social environments of the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood on Grand Rapids’ Southwest Side. It is a comprehensive redevelopment project that will invest more than $20 million to reinvigorate one square block bounded by Rumsey Street, Grandville Avenue, Graham Street and Century Avenue in Roosevelt Park.
While the project will not formally launch until 2017, Habitat Kent has begun convening conversations about Plaza Roosevelt with community organizations and neighborhood residents and will curate the various projects and initiatives that fall under this broad community umbrella.
The organization’s neighborhood revitalization efforts will continue over the next two years on the West Side. These efforts will include home building, rehabs, repairs and neighborhood beautification projects.