Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County

Community Distinction award

Karl Fechner, Paul Roeber and Diane McGeen

Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County

2020 Springdale Road, Waukesha
Founded: 1989

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Habitat for Humanity has been a familiar name in Waukesha County for more than two decades.

Historically, the organization has built an average of one home per year in the county. In 2013, however, it underwent a strategic restructuring, added new leadership, and began operating more as a business.

Karl Fechner, Paul Roeber and Diane McGeen
Karl Fechner, Paul Roeber and Diane McGeen

“We were doing great work, but we knew we could be doing more for this community,” said Diane McGeen, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County.

As a result of its efforts, the organization has grown tenfold, McGeen said.

“Today, the organization is serving more families by offering them more opportunities for affordable homeownership,” she said. “The vision of the organization is a world where everybody has a decent place to live.”

The organization opened a Habitat for Humanity Restore in 2014 to help with additional funding, grew its relationship with AmeriCorps to supplement the organization’s workforce and increased the opportunities for volunteers to get involved, McGeen said.

Last year, more than 3,000 volunteers logged more than 15,000 volunteer hours of donated time with the Waukesha nonprofit.

“We cannot do this alone,” she said. “This community has some incredibly gifted, talented and generous people who graciously give of their time.”

This year, the organization will build six houses in Waukesha County, and has also expanded its repair and revitalization efforts, which assist families who already own homes with making necessary repairs and improving efficiencies so they can afford to stay in their homes.

According to McGeen, what makes the organization unique is the community involvement in these projects. The future homeowners put in a lot of sweat equity, but so do volunteers, neighbors and other members of the community.

Everyone is working toward the same goal – to better the communities we live in, McGeen said.

“Habitat for Humanity is one of the most known, loved and trusted social service agencies in the country,” she said. “We want to continue to leverage that brand in order to grow Habitat for Humanity Waukesha and really, truly make a difference in Waukesha County.”

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