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Evergreen Habitat Goes to Georgia for Habitat National Affiliate Conference

Evergreen Habitat Goes to Georgia for Habitat National Affiliate Conference

At the crack of dawn on Saturday, March 2nd,a few of our dedicated staff here at Evergreen Habitat joined together at Portland International Airport, ready to embark on a journey. The destination? The Habitat National Affiliate 2024 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

But before diving into the various sessions at the conference, the team made a detour to the roots of it all: Americus, Georgia, home to Koinonia Farm, the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. On the farm, we learned more about the history and focus of racial equality with community members from all backgrounds coming together to break bread at the same table and pray together. The farm's major operation is their pecan facility, which we had the pleasure of touring and learning more about. We even got to taste some of their well-known chocolate pecan bark!

With hearts and minds brimming with inspiration, we then made our way to Atlanta, where the conference buzzed with energy of 2,200+ individuals from across the globe, all united under the theme "We build. We influence. Together." Discussions ranged from diversity, equity, and inclusion advocacy in local communities to forging impactful partnerships, culminating in a collective vision to lead change for equitable housing policies of the shared mission that everyone deserves a decent place to live.

There were so many moments and key takeaways from the week-long trip that we wanted to share some personal reflections. Look at what our staff said!

Heather Cochrun, Community Outreach Manager:
“There is something so energizing about being in a space with 2,200+ people who share the same passion and mission for affordable homeownership. It is truly incredible to hear about inspiring things that are happening at Habitats around the country. It’sa great opportunity to learn, stretch ourselves and our thinking, and bring back innovative ideas.”

Kelsey Castrey, Major Gifts and Procurement Manager:
“I loved learning more about how Habitat for Humanity was realized. Actually, being able to walk the farm and learn more about the history from Linda Fuller herself, wasa great experience. Learning about the founders’ passion for people and the inclusive practices they practiced so long ago is inspiring and motivating to keep doing the work here locally in Clark County. Sharing a meal with Linda Fuller was one of the biggest highlights. Learning about her fundraising techniques was truly special to me, being in the profession. One story she told about flying to a location andimmediately getting off the plane, in her suit and high heels, and began to lay bricks. Itdidn’t matter the outfit, she said, ‘We have to keep those houses going up!’”

Leanna Fabian, Grants and Development Manager:
“The National Conference was such a valuable experience for me for many reasons. For one, it's such an amazing opportunity to remember how our work here in Clark County is part of a much, much larger story and the impact of our work across the globe is truly astounding. We are truly part of something bigger than ourselves, and this movement is so crucial. I was also inspired by Habitat’s bold commitment to equity, and the fact that affiliates in all corners of our country are reckoning with the present-day impacts of racism in our communities and how we can begin to reconcile. Finally, in seeing so many examples of innovations in housing and Habitat’s programming from other affiliate organizations, I was able to put the growth of Evergreen Habitat here in Clark County into perspective and the incredible things that are on the horizon for us.”