Montrose, CO. (July 7, 2016) —Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans today announced that executive director Colleen Burke has been named the recipient of the 2016 Leadership Award for her contributions to the mission of Habitat for Humanity.
Each year Habitat for Humanity Colorado issues the award to an executive director who best represents that year’s theme. This year’s request was for leaders who embodied a quote by football legend and Habitat for Humanity advocate Jimmy Johnson:
“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as what he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
Burke was presented the award in April along with a $500 donation to Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, which she has overseen since 2012.
Burke’s tenure includes many milestones including the expansion of the service area to include not only Montrose county but also Ouray and San Miguel counties; the San Juan Independent Film Festival, which raises funds for housing projects; a critical home repair program; the Dream Builders campaign, which incentivizes donors to commit on a monthly schedule; and earlier this year, the completion of the organization’s 50th home construction project.
“Colleen’s hands-on leadership and creative fundraising is an inspiration to us all here,” said Alison Hunter, Office Manager and Executive Assistant at Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans. “It’s nothing short of astounding how much we’ve been able to accomplish as a team,” she added.
Burke grew up in the region graduating from Montrose High School in 1989. She is a graduate of Fort Lewis with a degree in Marketing and Economics. Her entire career has been dedicated to the non-profit sector including efforts promoting Sonoma Valley Wineries and later, working in economic development, promoting the small business and tourism economy Utah.
Burke has taken the lessons from those experiences and the mentors along the way to focus now on making affordable housing in the San Juan Region an economic development discussion. “Building affordable homes in rural Colorado is a much larger economic engine than people may think. Habitat spends nearly 90% of our construction dollars with local companies, we employ 15 locals and the purchase of an affordable Habitat home gives hard working families the stability they need to be great citizens of their communities,” said Burke.
“We’re so fortunate to Colleen’s tremendous character, energy, and capabilities,” said Wil Harmsen, who serves as president of the local Habitat chapter’s board of directors.
“Staff, homeowners, volunteers, donors, and supporters of Habitat have thrived under her leadership and she certainly advances our mission to provide local families a decent and affordable homes,” he added.