The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 29, 2012

Habitat ends director’s position


DANVILLE — Habitat for Humanity of Danville is again without an executive director.

Due to economic reasons, Habitat board members voted to eliminate the paid position of executive director, according to board president Erich Hannah.

John Graves was in the position since July 2008. He had been a volunteer with Second Church of Christ to help with a Habitat house. Hannah said things were going well in 2008 with Habitat, before the housing crash.

The position was eliminated within the last few weeks.

“Due to economic reasons, we decided to downsize,” Hannah said. “It was strictly an economic reason.”

Hannah said Graves’ performance had nothing to do with the position elimination.

“The affiliate is not in trouble by any means,” Hannah added.

He said Habitat doesn’t “want to go down” like some other non-profits. But donations have been down and it’s a difficult time for fundraising.

Graves’ duties, including fundraising, public relations and coordinating projects, will be performed on a volunteer basis by other board members and volunteers with Habitat.

“Right now we have a good, strong group of volunteers,” Hannah said, adding that they help with building homes and will help on the administrative side.

The organization survived for many years without a full-time director. The most recent time was from September 2006 to July 2008.

Hannah wouldn’t comment on Graves’ salary, but former Habitat executive director Andrew Phillips’ annual salary was about $40,000.

The salary savings will go back into building houses.

Hannah said the local Habitat affiliate is “very comfortable building two to three houses a year.”

The ReStore is doing great and helping with funding for homes.

“We’re very happy there,” Hannah said, adding they renewed their lease for the ReStore on Walnut Street.

Homes being worked on now are at 921 Chandler St., a handicapped-accessible house for Navy veteran Sean Shields.

“He will be in by Christmas,” Hannah said.

Also, Habitat’s 50th house, the Patriot build, at 1109 Robinson St. is expected to be completed by spring.

Habitat’s annual Souper Bowl fundraiser also will be coming up on Feb. 1 at First Presbyterian Church.

Habitat for Humanity of Danville is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing by building or renovating simple, decent homes for qualified families in the Danville area. Partner families pay for their houses with an interest-free mortgage from Habitat. Families must make a down payment of $1,000 and put in 300 or 350 hours (300 is for a single parent) of sweat equity into the home’s construction or another home.

Payments from existing loans are used to build more houses.

For additional questions about Habitat call 497-4234.