Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland has received the 2021 Affiliate of the Year Award for the state of Tennessee. The award was presented to Executive Director Tammy Johnson at the State Conference in Murfreesboro. Judge Barry Tidwell presented the award, along with Colleen Dudley, state executive director.
With the challenges of a pandemic and destructive tornadoes last year, Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee saw many heroes around the state rising to the top. There were a number of nominations for affiliates who were out front, serving their communities in difficult times, encouraging their staff, looking everywhere for funding to continue to provide housing so more people could be “Safe at Home”, not just during a pandemic.
Habitat of Cleveland was selected for providing outstanding service to families and their community through extraordinarily trying times, and for exhibiting exemplary leadership.
In the shut-down during the spring of 2020, the entire staff of Cleveland Habitat worked hard despite all the uncertainty – applying for grants and reaching out to check on volunteers, donors and foundations. Critically, the staff kept encouraging one another and the community via social media and other outlets. Construction was considered essential, so subcontractors kept working. Staff rotated in small groups to stock the ReStore and help to get building done. Through all of this, the board members always did whatever was needed to help complete goals.
After re-opening, they hosted Governor and First Lady Lee at a build – a high profile event that raised awareness that Habitat was still going. The staff reached out and enlisted volunteers. Through these efforts, they finished all five scheduled home builds in 2020, despite the challenges of contractor delays and rising materials costs.
Shortly after reopening, an anonymous donor gifted Habitat of Cleveland with almost $400,000, which became the beginning of the Hope for Habitat Endowment Fund. This gift contributes to the costs of future building plans for families in Bradley County. In addition, the ReStore sales are up almost 20 percent over last year and currently operating at a 50 percent net profit.
Ms. Johnson addressed the staff after bringing the award back to Cleveland and said, “I’m incredibly proud of, and happy to be working alongside you. Each of you bring talents and gifts that make our team strong, and I’m truly grateful for each of your contributions.” This includes the hundreds of volunteers, sponsors and donors who help in the mission of providing safe and affordable homes in Bradley County.