Flower City Habitat in Rochester, Ontario County Habitat in Canandaigua and Wayne County Habitat in Newark will join forces under the new name of Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity in January.
The merger will make the local affiliate the second largest by production in New York and place it among the top 40 affiliates across the United States.
With the merger, the organization will be able to continue to serve low-to-moderate income families from Rochester to Geneva, as well as those in other communities in the three-county area.
Following completion of the merger, Matthew J. Flanigan will serve as the president and CEO of the combined entity. He currently leaders Flower City Habitat for Humanity.
Flanigan said the three entities — with a combined 100-plus years of experience — will have a unique opportunity to serve more families in need of affordable housing with new homes and rehabs of existing homes, as well as critical repairs, to help owners remain in their homes.
“We will be able to deliver upon our mission to serve families with safe, decent housing they can afford in a new, unified service area,” Flanigan said.
In addition to Flanigan, Nash Bock will serve as chief business and innovation officer and JJ Cotter will serve as vice president of programs.
Bock and Cotter will continue in their roles as executive directors of Ontario County Habitat and Wayne County Habitat, respectively, until the legal consolidation on Jan. 2.
Flower City Habitat was founded in 1984, Wayne County began in 1988 and Ontario County was established in 1990.
Combined, the organizations have served nearly 350 area families with new homes, rehabilitated homes and needed repairs.
In 2021, the three entities reported collectively that:
- Volunteers logged a combined 55,000 hours with a total of 1,600 volunteers, serving in ReStores, on construction sites and in offices, and
- Homeowners-in-process across the region participated in financial education classes and collectively earned more than 4,000 hours of sweat equity toward the purchase of their homes.
The new Habitat affiliate expects to retain current staff and all existing board members will be asked to join the new entity’s board.
Cotter noted that the families the organizations have served will continue to be the focus.
“By combining our resources, we are confident we will expand not only the number of families we assist but enhance the breadth and quality of the programs we offer – from financial counseling to aging in place resources,” she said.
The news of the merger comes as Flower City Habitat for Humanity makes some changes of its own, adding new positions to reflect the growth the organization has experienced over the past year. Those positions will remain intact after the merger goes into effect.
The new positions include a chief operating officer and senior vice president of major gifts and planned giving.
Tim Guillemette was named chief operating officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization. He previously served as Flower City Habitat for Humanity’s director of family services.
Ethel Duble is the senior vice president of major gifts and planned giving. She previously served as the organization’s development and marketing director.
In her new role, Duble will focus on long-term goals that will contribute to the organization’s future financial stability.
Additionally, Flanigan was recently selected to serve on the U.S. Council of Habitat for Humanity International, which was established by its board of directors to serve as the planning and policy recommending body to guide the growth of Habitat for Humanity’s work in the United States.
In the role, Flanigan advises Habitat for Humanity International CEO, Jonathan Reckford, other senior staff and the International Board of Directors on the direction and priorities of U.S. programs.
Flower City Habitat for Humanity has grown largely through its collaborations with other organizations, Flanigan noted.
It has been a major contributor in the JOSANA Neighborhood revitalization project by partnering with the city of Rochester to build 100 homes to date, all within one-half mile of Enrico Fermi School 17.
The work is part of the JOSANA Neighborhood Master Plan that includes the development of neighborhood associations, business investments and public space beautification projects.
Currently, the organization is in the process of planning additional neighborhood revitalization projects that will help strengthen the communities of Beechwood and Emma in partnership with Connected Communities.
“All of our efforts are focused on the heart of what we do … to ensure everyone has a decent place to live,” Flanigan said.
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