2024 Habitat for Humanity International Conference

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2024 Habitat for Humanity International Conference

April 1, 2024

Insights from our Board Chair, Kim Varga

Every two years, our staff attends the Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) Conference at their headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Affiliate offices from around the world are invited to attend, collaborate, and propel our mission forward.

In early March, our small but mighty team cozied up in a van and drove four hours to spend four days with our fellow Habitat for Humanitarians. However, unique to this year’s trip, we had the pleasure of being accompanied by the Chair of our Board of Directors and longtime HFHWM supporter, Kim Varga.

Meet Kim Varga:

Ms. Varga has been an avid volunteer and advocate of our mission since 2018. During her time at Schneider Electric, she helped secure corporate sponsorship of our home builds and annual Hammers & High Heels event. She is no stranger to working on the construction site, working on many homes in her six years of support. Today, she’s enjoying retirement life with her beloved pups and generously donating her time to lead our Board of Directors.

Coming into this experience from the lens of a board member, volunteer, and proud supporter, we were excited to hear her takeaways from our time in Atlanta. We had the opportunity to interview Kim and wanted to share her insights with neighbors and friends.

Insights from our Board of Directors Chair, Kim Varga:

Question 1: How would you describe your experience at the Habitat for Humanity International Conference?

“Amazing & humbling! The breadth and depth of Habitat’s impact globally was very impressive. I was familiar with the traditional Habitat model- raising money, buying land, and then building houses with volunteers and homeowners during the sweat equity process. However, I was unaware that Habitat for Humanity International was partnering with the United Nations and global food banks to address the temporary/short-term housing needs of refugees in Ukraine and Poland [as one example]. 

Question 2: What was the most impactful experience from your time this week?

“The passionate commitment to the mission of affordable and safe housing! Habitat is a global network of friends & partners truly aligned to a single mission. There are many options on how to achieve that mission based on the needs of the unique communities we serve.

Hearing what worked and what didn’t for each community and why was educational and inspiring. Every affiliate has access to these ideas! The fact that we are all in the same network and can leverage each other’s learnings is key. No need to make the same mistakes or create unnecessary delays in the work we do.”

Question 3: What ideas are you excited to bring back to our community?

More sustainable housing: Our community is a great place to lead the way with net-zero energy and sustainability.

Creative housing models: Our shortage of land and housing for low-to-moderate-income families is a necessary driver for innovative solutions.

Strengthening partnerships: It takes a village to build one! To serve our community, we need to collaborate and partner with the groups in our community! That includes large corporations, small/family businesses, fellow non-profits, churches, etc.

Question 4: What made you feel energized at the conference?

“I was very energized by the creativity and perseverance I saw in action. This comes from listening to and learning about your community’s needs.  If something doesn’t work – try again or try a different way.  The mission is too important to give up. There are 2.8 billion people around the world without access to affordable or safe housing, many of which can be found in our community.”

Question 5: What is something you didn’t expect to feel or take away from this experience?

“During one of our group sessions, HFHI’s CEO, Johnathan Reckford, said, “If not us, then who?”

Who indeed!”

Our entire HFHWM team is buzzing with fresh ideas after the 2024 Habitat for Humanity International Conference. Here’s to building bigger and better in the years to come!

Featured Partners

Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The support of our generous partners helps make our vision a reality and has a huge impact in the lives of families.

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