Community Invests $9M in Affordable Housing with Habitat for Humanity

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, October 29, 2019 — Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is celebrating securing $9 million for its capital campaign to expand access to affordable housing in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

Habitat Kent’s “Bright Future Campaign” is a $9 million plan to build, rehab or repair 400 homes in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood—reaching approximately 1 in 4 homes throughout the neighborhood. 17 of those homes are currently under construction on the mixed-use Plaza Roosevelt site at Grandville Avenue and Rumsey Street SW. The nonprofit announced the public phase of the campaign earlier this year.

“We are overwhelmed by the community’s enthusiasm for this initiative and incredibly grateful to the donors and volunteers who have joined us in building strength, stability and opportunity in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood,” said executive director Bev Thiel. “This is the biggest, boldest undertaking in Habitat Kent’s 35-year history, and it would simply not be possible without the donors who have pledged contributions to the Bright Future Campaign.

“We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Roosevelt Park neighbors who contributed their time, energy and wisdom to inform the vision for Plaza Roosevelt and the innovative programs Habitat Kent is testing through 2020. After this campaign, listening to and planning alongside neighbors is no longer something we are trying out—it is part of who we are.”

In total, 366 donors have made gifts or pledges to the campaign and volunteers have contributed roughly 9,000 hours to date. With the $9 million goal secured, Habitat Kent has more work to do. The campaign’s home building and repair activities will continue through 2020 and the nonprofit is already planning for future investment in Roosevelt Park and nearby neighborhoods.

Townhomes underway on Plaza Roosevelt site

About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. As a neighborhood revitalization organization, Habitat Kent build homes and partners with neighbors and community organizations to improve access to resources and build a better quality of life. Established in 1983, Habitat Kent has helped more than 425 families in Kent County become homeowners, and has partnered with another 900 families to repair and improve their homes. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or lending a voice to advocate for strong neighborhoods, everyone can help families achieve the strength and stability they need to build better lives. To learn more visit

Habitat Kent Welcomes Bev Thiel as New Executive Director

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, May 20, 2019 — Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has named experienced nonprofit leader Beverly Thiel as its new executive director.

Thiel brings more than 25 years of nonprofit experience and a strong leadership track record to the executive director role at Habitat Kent. She brings extensive expertise in organizational development, donor relations, operations and fiscal management to the organization. She succeeds outgoing Executive Director BriAnne McKee, who is relocating to Boise, Idaho with her family.

Thiel begins her work with Habitat Kent at the end of May.

“We can’t imagine someone better prepared than Bev to continue leading Habitat Kent and its transformative impact in Grand Rapids,” said Habitat Kent Board Chair Mark Mossing. “Her past experience of elevating nonprofit organizations will be an invaluable asset to the organization as we set our sights on strengthening not just individual families, but entire neighborhoods.

“We also want to extend our deep appreciation to Bri McKee, who has been a driving force in the growth and change of Habitat Kent. Under her leadership for the past four years, we have set a new standard for community engagement and collaboration, developed new, innovative strategies to increase access to affordable homeownership, and have earned increased financial support. We wish Bri and her family well in this next exciting chapter.”

Thiel most recently served as executive director of Starlight Ministries, a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that provides opportunities for those who are grieving a death to experience a safe environment of caring support that promotes healing and hope. In this role, she led growth initiatives for the organization, including positioning Starlight to accelerate grant writing and funding, developing new diversity, equity and inclusion programming, establishing board processes and procedures to strengthen its foundation.

Prior to joining Habitat Kent, Thiel spent 21 years in various leadership roles at YMCA branches in Michigan and Indiana. During her tenure in West Michigan, she was responsible for leading hundreds of staff and volunteers, fundraising and community partnership efforts. Additionally, she oversaw construction and facilities management, programming development, fundraising and capital campaigns, stakeholder engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and community partnerships.

Thiel will take the helm at Habitat Kent during an exciting time for the organization, which recently launched the public phase of its largest capital campaign to date. The Bright Future Campaign represents a new standard of innovation, neighborhood engagement and impact for Habitat Kent with a goal of investing in 400 homes and raising $9 million in three years.

The centerpiece of this campaign is Plaza Roosevelt, a 5.5-acre site in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood where Habitat Kent is bringing together eight other local organizations to bring improved housing, expanded healthcare, education and economic opportunities to the neighborhood. Habitat Kent is currently building the first seven of 17 Habitat homes planned for the sit. Grand Rapids Public Schools has already broken ground on the new high school at Plaza Roosevelt.

“I am excited about working alongside the dedicated and motivated team at Habitat Kent – along with so many passionate neighbors and supporters – to continue building homes, communities and hope in Kent County,” Thiel said. “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with organizations that focus on community building.

“I very much see my role as continuing to build on the strong foundation that Bri and her team have established. I look forward to the journey that lies ahead.”

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