The Honorable Benjamin S. Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), praised the extraordinary leadership of DC Habitat’s “Women Build: She Nailed It” initiative during his keynote speech at a “celebration reception” at the beautiful National Museum of Women.
The elegant reception for nearly 300 guests, including several DC Councilmembers, corporate donors, media, and volunteers, highlighted DC Habitat’s “Women Build: She Nailed It” campaign in the Arts building on September 14, 2017to promote affordable homeownership for low- and moderate-income women in need of housing in the District of Columbia.
Launched on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017, the multi-month campaign surpassed its $500,000fundraising goal to provide permanent, safe and decent new homes to local families and to engage broader community support, it was announced. The initiative enjoys the support of all six current and former First Ladies of the United States on its honorary committee, bipartisan members of Congress, and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser who attended last year’s ground-breaking ceremony in Ivy City (Northeast DC).
“The least I can do for my mother—and the least we can do for all the women who helped us and inspired us—is to give more Americans like them a shot at homeownership, opportunities for prosperity, and protection from the storms that life may throw at them and their families,” said Dr. Carson, citing his personal experience of growing up in Detroit.
Dr. Carson recognized the leadership of Susanne V. Slater, DC Habitat’s President and CEO, Corinne McIntosh-Douglas, DC Habitat Board Chair, and Debbie Ames Naylor, Executive Vice President and President, Mortgage Banking, PenFed, and Chair of the Women Build Steering Committee, who led the fundraising efforts for the 2017 Women Build campaign.
“This event recognizes their achievements, and especially calls attention to those who have worked and built and battled against long odds, who deserve our help and acclaim so that they have a fighting chance to get ahead,” said Carson, who was accompanied by his wife, Candy Carson, cofounder and Board member of Carsons Scholarship Fund.
“Habitat for Humanity’s mission of empowerment, of offering people a hand UP, not a hand-OUT, is one I have always embraced,” said DC Habitat’s Slater. “DC Habitat’s ‘Women Build: She Nailed It’ campaign highlights the contributions of so many incredible women who have invested in bringing the DC community together to build and raise money for affordable housing. I am so proud of our team, and most especially of Debbie Ames Naylor, for her incredible hard work and determination in bringing needed resources to this worthy project.”
“It’s been such an honor to help serve this underserved community of women by helping them achieve the dream of affordable housing,” said Ames Naylor, adding that PenFed Credit Union is a legacy sponsor and has donated a total of $500,000 over the past several years including $100,000 this year. “I am so proud to have met deserving women like new Habitat homeowner Andrea Morgan, who has proven to us all that she is a female warrior.”
Ames Naylor noted that DC Habitat’s Women Build initiative recognizes the challenges facing women in the nation’s capital, especially women who serve as the head of their family and have little hope of achieving the dream of homeownership.
To address these needs, DC Habitat focuses on helping local women and their families build strength, stability, self-reliance and community through affordable homeownership opportunities. DC Habitat offers a hand-up, not a hand-out so that families working alongside us can achieve the dream of homeownership.
The spectacular reception took place in The Great Hall of The National Museum of Women in the Arts from 5:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. In addition to Secretary Carson, special guests included Debra Alfarone, TV Journalist and WUSA9’s Weekend Evening Anchor, as Emcee; DC Habitat homeowner Andrea Morgan, who shared her story of empowerment; Polly Donaldson, Director of the DC Department of Housing and Community; Shanel James, Miss US International 2017 and a Howard University graduate, and government, private sector, and community leaders.
Since the launch of the “Women Build: She Nailed It” campaign in early 2017, more than two dozen all-volunteer construction builds with DC Habitat’s corporate and nonprofit partners have been scheduled. Those include PenFed, Avalon Bay, Edgewood, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Kiwanis Club, Leidos, and MidCity Financial, among others. Additional construction builds are planned this fall.
DC Habitat would like to offer its appreciation to the many sponsors and supporters of “Women Build: She Nailed It” including PenFed Credit Union, Kiwanis, Greater Washington Community Foundation, Fannie Mae, Mortgage Bankers Association, Wells Fargo, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Freddie Mac, Leidos, National Presbyterian Church, titleclose, Torti Gallas + Partners, Edgewood, MIDCITY, AvalonBay, Cognosante, ARTEMIS Real Estate Partners, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty, and others.
Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, which is currently supporting Hurricanes Harvey and Irma response and recovery efforts through the #HabitatHammersBack campaign.