The Surprise of a Lifetime

Story by: Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Shortly after 10 a.m., a car stops in front of the home.

A large crowd has gathered and it falls silent as three boys, ages 9, 7 and 4, jump out the back, their snowboots plopping on the pavement.

A moment later, their mother, Sade, comes around the side of the car and gathers them together.

They stare at the crowd. The crowd stares back. A moment passes, then the crowd joins Dunn in giving the family a cheer.

It’s not that Sade isn’t expecting people. Staff at Habitat for Humanity had told her there would be a traditional blessing of the home and that her house, which she helped build, was already a piece of Habitat history.

So Sade is expecting a crowd. What she isn’t expecting is this:

Through Dunn’s charity and other Habitat partners, Sade’s new home has been furnished. Entirely.

Continue reading…

This amazing gift of furnishings was made possible through a partnership with Warrick Dunn Charities, Keller Williams Northshore & Colder’s. Sade, like all Milwaukee Habitat homeowners, helped build her own home and pays an affordable mortgage.


Milwaukee Habitat Awarded Social Enterprise of Year

This November, Biztimes Media presented Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity with the 2018 Social Enterprise of the Year Award. This award recognizes a nonprofit organization that demonstrates creative application of the principles of social enterprise in the operation and funding of the organization.

In particular, the award focused on our ReStore operations for creating a sustainable fundraising source which has grown to three stores throughout Milwaukee County. In 2017, Milwaukee’s ReStores sold more than $2 million worth of donated materials, raising crucial funds to build safe, affordable homes in our community.

ReStore offers free pickup service for large donations and three convenient donation centers/stores…find out more here.

Read about all the winners from the Biztimes Media Nonprofit Excellence Awards here.


Zurn Industries/Rexnord Corporation Invests $75k into Midtown 100 Initiative

Zurn Industries, a Rexnord Company, has invested $75,000 in Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s Midtown 100 initiative. The funds will be used to help the organization build, rehab and repair 100 homes in the Midtown neighborhood over the next three years.

This significant investment will help transform blocks of empty lots in the Midtown neighborhood into the highest concentration of affordable, single-family homes built in Milwaukee since WWII.

“We are excited to expand our nearly two decades-long relationship with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity,” said Todd A. Adams, President and CEO of Rexnord Corporation. “Together with our Zurn business, we are committed to contributing to the communities where we live and work around the world and through our work with Habitat, we are able to make a positive impact right here in Milwaukee.”

In addition to financial support, the company will donate Zurn® brand plumbing products for new homes and the Habitat warehouse, and employees will volunteer alongside future homeowners on Habitat’s build sites. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes and pay an affordable mortgage.

“We absolutely couldn’t tackle such an ambitious project in Midtown without the support of companies like Zurn and Rexnord,” says Milwaukee Habitat’s Executive Director Brian Sonderman. “Together we can make affordable homeownership possible for local families, while revitalizing central city neighborhoods.”

With nearly three in five Milwaukee renters living in unaffordable housing, the city is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. While creating affordable housing opportunities, Milwaukee Habitat seeks to replicate the outcomes achieved in the Washington Park neighborhood, where crime decreased 48% on the blocks where they built from 2013-2018.

About Rexnord and Zurn Industries

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rexnord is comprised of two strategic platforms, Process & Motion Control and Water Management, with approximately 8,000 employees worldwide. The Process & Motion Control platform designs, manufactures, markets and services specified, highly-engineered mechanical components used within complex systems. The Water Management platform designs, procures, manufactures and markets products that provide and enhance water quality, safety, flow control and conservation. Additional information about the Company can be found at

Zurn Industries, LLC is a Rexnord company and a recognized leader in commercial, municipal, healthcare and industrial markets. Zurn offers the largest breadth of engineered water solutions, including a wide spectrum of sustainable plumbing products. Zurn delivers total building solutions for new construction and retrofit applications that enhance any building’s environment. For more information, visit


First Midtown 100 Family Moves In

Tiara, a mother of two (one an infant), for the past few years has been raising her young daughter in what she describes as a “concrete townhouse.” Simple concrete block, without insulation, was all that’s been separating her family from the cold Wisconsin winters. Heating bills had been through the roof. On top the mounting heating bills, Tiara’s landlord had raised the cost of her rental twice in just over a year.

With help from Milwaukee Habitat, Tiara built a safe, affordable home becoming the first family of Milwaukee Habitat’s historic Midtown 100 initiative. Thanks to your support, Tiara now owns a home where she can raise her children for years to come.

99 more homes are being built, rehabbed and repaired in the Midtown neighorhood over the next three years to create the highest concentration of affordable, single family homes built in Milwaukee since WWII.

Like, love and share photos of Tiara’s house dedication on Facebook

Make a gift to help more families like Tiara’s


Midtown Block Being Transformed Thanks to Komatsu

As part of their historic Midtown 100 initiative, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is transforming the 2000 block of North 30th street from a large vacant lot into a row of brand new affordable homes. More than 400 volunteers were on site the second week of September to completely frame four new homes thanks to support from Komatsu, a global company with subsidiary headquarters in Milwaukee.

The heavy equipment and technology company, who next year will mark 135 years of doing business in Milwaukee, is sponsoring two of the four homes being framed. Komatsu employees will make up nearly half of the volunteers who will be working alongside future homeowners raising the walls of these homes.

These are the 20th and 21st homes Komatsu has built in partnership with Milwaukee Habitat, a partnership that has now exceeded $1.4 million in financial support and 7600 employee volunteer hours since 2011.

Milwaukee Habitat’s Midtown 100 initiative to build, rehab and repair 100 homes over the next three years will create the highest concentration of affordable single-family homes built in Milwaukee since World War II.

Watch CBS58’s coverage of the Komatsu Build

Find out how your business or organization can get involved


Take Home a Piece of the Bradley Center

As the Milwaukee Bucks plan to start their season in the new Fiserv Forum, fans will have an opportunity to own a piece of their former home: the soon-to-be demolished Bradley Center. Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s Deconstruction Services team will be salvaging lockers, seating, cabinets, lighting and more from the iconic Milwaukee venue throughout the month of September.

Jake Weiler, Deconstruction Services Manager, estimates nearly 70,000 pounds of materials to be salvaged over the course of the month. All items will be resold at Milwaukee’s three ReStores with proceeds helping to build safe, affordable homes in our community. Deconstruction began September 6th and will continue through September 27th.

Read more about the deconstruction in this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

See the latest Bradley Center product to land at our stores on our Facebook page

Click here for hours and locations of our three ReStores


Habitat Deconstruction to Salvage from Bradley Center

This September, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s Deconstruction Services will be salvaging reusable materials from the soon-to-be demolished Bradley Center.

The Milwaukee Bucks are ensuring that rather than these items be thrown in local landfills that instead they’ll be resold at Milwaukee’s three ReStores with proceeds helping to build safe, affordable homes in our community.

Read more about the Deconstruction of the Bradley Center in this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Remodeling or demolishing? Find out how our Deconstruction Services can salvage everything from residential kitchens to commercial buildings. 


Donald Driver Helps Rock the Block

On Saturday, June 16th, Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver Donald Driver joined more than 40 volunteers from Northwestern Mutual to Rock the Block. These day-long events bring residents together with volunteers to perform minor exterior repairs and landscaping projects on homes throughout an entire block.

Amani resident, Dolores

The Packers legend helped Amani resident Dolores paint her front porch. Dolores, a huge Packers fan, was ecstatic to have the Packers Hall of Famer working on her home.

Following a press conference with Northwestern Mutual Foundation president Eric Christophersen and Milwaukee Habitat executive director Brian Sonderman, Driver joined other volunteers planting garden beds and getting to know residents on the block.

Left to Right: Eric Christophersen, Donald Driver, Brian Sonderman

This is one of two Rock the Block events Northwestern Mutual is supporting this summer in the Amani neighborhood. Though Milwaukee Habitat is focusing its work primarily in the Midtown neighborhood through our Midtown 100 initiative, we host Rock the Block events to provide continued support in the neighborhoods we’ve historically built in.

CLICK HERE to see pictures


A house, once loved, becomes a home again, filled with magic

By: Crocker Stevenson – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dawn Marks tried to keep her cool as she picked up her four kids from school. They could tell something was up.

Dawn told them she had a surprise for them, one she had been working on for quite some time.

For almost a year, Dawn had been working with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity to rehab a five-bedroom house in the Washington Park neighborhood. She had closed on the house that day.

Keeping the project from her kids all year hadn’t been easy.



Industry Execs Raise the Walls of Habitat Homes

On Tuesday, June 5th industry leaders from area development, real estate and construction companies joined together to raise the walls of two Habitat for Humanity homes in Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood. The build, co-hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal, is part of Habitat’s historic Midtown 100 initiative to build, rehab and repair 100 homes in the Midtown neighborhood over the next three years. More than 20 industry leaders, including champions of downtown revitalization Joshua Jeffers and Tony Janowiec, were onsite to roll up their sleeves and hammer nails to help local families in need of safe, affordable housing. With support from these industry leaders, Habitat’s Midtown 100 initiative will transform blocks of empty lots into the highest concentration of affordable single family homes built in Milwaukee since WWII.

“The individuals joining us on this build are pioneering the future landscape of Milwaukee,” says Milwaukee Habitat Executive Director Brian Sonderman. “Together we can make a lasting impact and revitalize central-city neighborhoods.”

With nearly 60% of Milwaukee renters living in unaffordable housing, the city is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Habitat’s no-down payment, affordable mortgage makes it possible for local families in need to build strength, stability and self-reliance through homeownership. By focusing their work in concentrated areas, Habitat’s goal is to revitalize entire communities. After working in the Washington Park neighborhood for the past five years, crime has decreased 48% on the blocks where Habitat has built.

See photos from the Milwaukee Business Journal