FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans Executive Director
Colleen Burke 970-252-9303
The boards of Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County and Habitat for Humanity of the Telluride Region unanimously approved to merge last month in a move their leaders say will cut expenses, improve leadership, bridge partnerships, increase the population and geographic served, and strengthen the organization.
“The merger represents another step in the strong growth that our affiliate has experienced over the past several years,” shares Board President Betty Tomlinson. “We are excited about increasing our footprint while we remain committed to maintaining our participation and value in the area we currently serve.”
The Habitat of Montrose County board and its Executive Director, Colleen Burke, will continue to lead the now combined affiliates. The name for the new organization is Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans, which will be headquartered at the current 1601 N Townsend location in Montrose.
“When you look at bringing these two incredible organizations together, you have a wonderful marriage in terms of efficiency,” said Colleen Burke, “We can serve more families, which is the primary focus for Habitat for Humanity.”
Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans will signal its expanded focus with a new tagline: “Building Homes, Communities and Hope in Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties.”
The combined Habitat affiliate will continue to offer homeownership and financial-education opportunities to families living on 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income. Once qualified and accepted into the program, family partners agree to invest 250 hours of “sweat equity” in their own and other Habitat homes, successfully complete the organization’s Homebuyer Academy, and make payments on a non-profit, 30‐year mortgage set at 30% of their income.
The two chapters’ leaders talked in the past about coming together, though not seriously until this past summer when the Telluride affiliate decided the timing was right and their Executive Director, Jeff Hauser, felt it was time to step down and pass the torch.
“One immediate benefit will come in the form of in-kind donations,” Burke explains. Prior to the merge, we were paying a monthly fee for the right to solicit donations in the Telluride territory, which included all of Ouray and San Miguel Counties. We rely heavily on our resort communities to donate high quality goods to our ReStore. We will also now manage one of the Norwood mortgages previously serviced through the Telluride affiliate.”
“Instead of having two payrolls and two administrative offices, two insurance programs, two bookkeepers, we’ll centralize our operations in Montrose,” Burke said. “We’ll be able to spend more money on development and less on operations. We have a highly professional team in place and we are all eager to start building relationships across our new territory.”
“This is something Habitat is interested in nationwide,” she added. “With the economy, we’re all trying to be more efficient.”
As head of the Montrose affiliate, Burke worked closely with Habitat for Humanity International and Habitat for Humanity of Colorado as well as local partners to improve finances and operations. She is credited with turning the organization around and building new partnerships while nurturing existing ones, and looks forward to doing the same for the combined organization.
About Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans – formerly Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County:
Over the past 23 years, Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County has empowered 44 local families to help build and move into homes of their own. Habitat for Humanity is always in need of volunteers to help with construction, special events and at the ReStore. To volunteer, please contact Meg Lowery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans go to www.buildinglives.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/habitatsanjuans, email Development Director Heather Zeilman at email@example.com, or call 970-252-9303.