As you may have heard, I am stepping down as President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland as of December 31, after 16 years of service – initially as a member of the Board of Directors and then over 15 years as CEO.

I started out as a volunteer and helped the then Board of Directors with their first Strategic Plan.  Little did I know that our small group of committed staff and volunteers would grow the organization from 19 projects in 2006 to over 700 projects completed as of this writing.  Our work includes homes completed and a robust repair and weatherization program.

We are passionate about our work to provide healthy and affordable housing for all.  There are occasions when someone’s life has been changed dramatically and express their appreciation for our acts of kindness and compassion, such as this note:

“Dear Habitat.  I love you all.  Thank you for every sacrifice you have made.  Habitat is more than a house for me and my family.  It really was a hand up!  We come from so little and you helped me believe that there was something more and taught me that hard work can pay off.  Your work has changed my life forever and I eternally grateful.”  Signed Melissa.

Our ReStore business started in 2006 and has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise with the dual purpose of environmental stewardship and the generation of net proceeds dedicated to affordable housing. 

I am also proud of our international work through Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village Program.  We built 167 homes internationally through our tithing program, and I am particularly proud of our work to build homes in rural El Salvador in partnership with Montgomery County’s Sister Cities Initiative.

Years of advocacy work in Montgomery and Prince George’s County has provided visibility and recognition for the important work we do to advocate for racial equity and social justice in housing.  I am grateful to members of the Montgomery Housing Alliance for their leadership in advocating for affordable housing in Montgomery County. 

But mostly, I want to thank all of you for your support and friendship over the years.  The best part of my career with Habitat has been the interaction with so many individuals, elected officials, business and faith leaders in our community.  I will always cherish the many friendships I’ve made over the years.

I plan to stay active and open to new opportunities.  After January 1, you can reach me at  mobile: 240-252-9181.

Please welcome Jeff Dee, Interim CEO as of January 1st.  Jeff served as Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity Loudoun County prior to serving as our Chief Development Officer for the past 8 years.  You can see Jeff’s bio here.  Jeff’s contact information: Mobile: 202-997-5425.

I wish you, your families and your organizations the best of health, happiness and joy in the holiday season.

John Paukstis