Photo credit left and top right: Mojet Photography
On October 26th, we gathered with over 300 community members at our 40th Anniversary Event celebrating 500 homeowners! It was an incredible evening reflecting on our history and the impact we have made as a community.
We were uplifted by the many stories shared by and about our founders, volunteers, supporters, and Habitat Kent homeowners. Quanette, a Habitat Kent Homeowner since 2019, shared about her journey to homeownership and said she was moved by the outpouring of support. “The volunteers working on my house didn’t know me, but they were out there every single day. Knowing that people care and are trying to get community back – it touches me a lot.”
Keynote Speaker Majora Carter, an expert on neighborhood revitalization, inspired us to continue working toward building thriving communities: “Instead of building an idea that you have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one, help others see the power of investing in your communities. That is what helps create stability.”
Dr. Linda Smith emphasized this message. Smith grew up in the third Habitat Kent home and is now Corporate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at a large global company. She gave a testimony of hope and opportunity, and encouraged guests to invest in their communities by supporting local organizations like Habitat as her family does.
We were also honored to recognize the recipients of the 2023 Habitat Kent Awards and thrilled to have so many of them celebrating with us at the event:
Hope Award – Habitat Kent Founders: Honoring those who emulate hope in our community
Jonathan Bradford – Inner City Christian Federation, Federal Home Loan Bank; Alistair Brown – Scott Christopher Homes; George Heartwell – Heartwell Mortgage, Mayor – City of Grand Rapids; Dave Jacobs – Home Repair Services; Betty Zylstra – Salvation Army Booth Family Services, Community Food Club
Stability Award – Van Haren Electric Inc.: Honoring a long-term supporter with roots in our past and a vision for the future
Opportunity Award – Mercantile Bank: Honoring a partner who provides opportunities to give back to their community and opportunities for community growth
It was tremendous being surrounded by so many supporters who care deeply about building a world everyone has a decent, affordable place to call home. We are grateful for what we’ve accomplished together and are incredibly optimistic about the next decade of working together with a passionate and dedicated community!