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Monrovia is Going to Have a Habitat!

Members of the Monrovia Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Team go over plans for the Sherman Avenue homes project, shown from the left: Mary Ann Lutz, Monrovia City Council; Amanda Wray, graphic designer; Donna Baker, Women’s Build team leader.

Habitat for Humanity is a well-known, international organization and its San Gabriel Valley Chapter has recently announced its latest project: four homes to be built on a now-vacant lot on Sherman Avenue in Monrovia.  With land and architectural plans acquired, the next step is to raise the money to pay for the construction.  Habitat for Humanity will need to raise $533,000 for this Monrovia project, and the creative juices are flowing to achieve that goal.

“The community of Monrovia is well-known for its ability to pull together to address issues of local concern,” said City Councilmember Mary Ann Lutz, “and this project is just another example of this city’s vitality and commitment.  I have no doubt that we will be able raise the money and help four families acquire the safe and affordable houses they deserve.”

According to its web site, Habitat for Humanity has more than 1500 affiliates in the United States.  The organization is dedicated to constructing homes that are purchased by qualifying families with no-profit, no-interest mortgage terms at a price made affordable by the organization’s volunteer labor, donated materials and contributions.  Once accepted, the family typically becomes a member of the construction crew of their own home. 

Councilmember Lutz was one of the driving forces in bringing Habitat for Humanity to Monrovia, serving as one of the key liaisons between the City government and the nonprofit organization.  The San Gabriel Valley chapter has worked in many communities, but this is its first effort in Monrovia.  The City has acquired the land for the project, and as with all Habitat for Humanity initiatives, local volunteers assume the responsibility to raise the needed funds, and also get to help with the actual construction on the project.

Creative fundraising is a common ingredient to all Habitat for Humanity projects.  Donna Baker, a long-standing Monrovia Realtor® and active community leader, has been a member of the Women’s Build Team for a project in Glendale and was instrumental in sharing that team’s energy for the new effort in Monrovia.  For each construction effort, Habitat for Humanity organizes the fundraising volunteers into Build teams – groups who have some common affiliation. 

Four such teams have been established for the Monrovia effort.  Donna Baker has already recruited 23 people to her Women’s Build.  Other teams include a Faith Build, headed by Howard Woo; a Financial Build, headed by Daric Lee and Deborah Loveland, and a Construction/Business Build under the leadership of Mike Davitt and Don Goodman.  All these team leaders welcome the participation of new volunteers to their ranks. 

Donna Baker has volunteered for many years with the San Gabriel Valley chapter and is committed to making this Monrovia project work.  As a member of the Women’s Build team for the Glendale project, she saw the many different and creative ways the volunteers worked to raise money. “There were dinner parties, raffles, pancake breakfasts, bingo nights, restaurant partnerships, jewelry sales, personal appeals, as well as corporate contributions,” said Donna, “and Charlotte Hogan, our team leader, never gave up on the team, pushing us to reach and then exceed our fundraising goal.”    

Donna’s team has hit the ground running.  Amanda Wray, a Monrovia-based web designer, was one of the first to sign on to Donna’s team.  She has already helped the Monrovia Women’s Build team by creating its own website: to help recruit and coordinate the volunteers and the contributions, and to provide accurate and timely information about the project.  “The web is a wonderful tool to use for projects such as this,” said Amanda, “as it provides an avenue of information that is professional and accessible by anyone in front of a computer; and it helps gives our team increased credibility, and we hope that will encourage greater contributions more quickly.”

If you are interested in being a part of the Monrovia project by volunteering or simply by making a contribution, please visit the website above, or contact April Wendlandt, Monrovia Sherman Campaign Chair at the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity, 626.792.3838.