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Leveraging expertise: Habitat for Humanity

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Rotary and Habitat for Humanity International attract the same kind of service-minded people, and the partnership between these organizations encompasses an array of areas where housing intersects with Rotary's main causes.

This includes access to clean water and sanitation, community economic development as it relates to housing, and responding to housing and humanitarian needs in crisis situations such as conflict and environmental disasters. Habitat also works at the local, state and federal level to address housing policies and systems and advocate for access to safe, affordable housing.

Habitat's broad strategic goals offer opportunities for Rotary club partnerships beyond the homebuilding or repair projects that people may immediately think of. Clubs can meet with a local Habitat affiliate or invite a Habitat representative to speak at a meeting and start a conversation about local housing needs, community economic development, or rebuilding after a disaster.

"Rotary and Habitat have a shared commitment of bringing people of all walks of life together to positively change the world, which is what makes our partnership so strong," said Julie Laird Davis, vice president of corporate and cause marketing partnerships at Habitat for Humanity International. "Rotary members are well respected voices in their communities. They have passion for their communities and for the causes they care about, which makes them valuable partners and volunteers for local Habitat organizations."

Rotary members have supported their local Habitat affiliates by identifying needs and helping to secure funding and philanthropic investments for local projects as well as through guidance on home builds and advocacy on environmental sustainability. When a project's goals are achieved, Rotary's enduring community presence can ensure that the results are sustainable for the long term.

Like Rotary, Habitat also seeks scalable, cross-sector projects — and collaboration between the organizations holds the promise of powerful results. Habitat's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter is studying market-based solutions to housing issues, including nurturing businesses that can improve affordable housing and develop products like cost-effective solar heating systems.

The Rotary-Habitat partnership is "centered around our shared desire to help others and to create lasting change in communities in which we serve around the world," said Laird Davis.

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity.