Remembering Our First Women Build

We’re back with another edition of Good News Tues to spread a little joy from our Habitat family to yours. We’re all in this together. Here’s hoping this brings a little light to your day. 

Remembering Our First Women Build

Women Build is a nation-wide movement by Habitat for Humanity to recruit, educate and nurture women to build – and advocate for – safe and affordable housing in our community. Here in Milwaukee, our first ever Women Build was held in 2006. Women from across the area came together to work alongside first-time homebuyer, Johanna, to build her safe, affordable Habitat home.

In the picture above, Johanna is surrounded by her three children (Lexus, Johnny & Cameron) in what would soon become their home. Her face glows with pride watching Johnny look up at the walls she’d raised earlier that day.

What makes this moment even more special, Johanna recalled in a recent Women Build kickoff, was that it was all women who helped raise those walls with her.

“This is us raising the walls on the second floor. Look at this! It’s women, all women! Look at all that power, all that strength,” she said.

This home was the beginning of a new chapter in Johanna’s life.

“[Habitat] inspired me to not only push my family forward and give them a good home, but this sparked the entrepreneurial spirit in me,” she said. “Because one year after I moved into my Habitat home, I went and got an education in real estate.”

Johanna went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as her children grew into young men. She’s since established her own business, Vineyard Real Estate. She attributes having an affordable place to raise her family as one of the keys to achieving the dream of owning her own business.

“The motivation I got, the support that I got, the empowerment that I got. I want to share that with other people, and that is my motivation for my business,” she said. “It wouldn’t have happened, it wouldn’t have been possible without God, and without the support of Habitat.”

Last year Johanna came full circle, joining Milwaukee Habitat’s Board of Directors. As the first Milwaukee Habitat Women Build homeowner, she’s now leading a team of fundraisers for this year’s Women Build. For Women Build 2021, local women are coming together to create fundraising teams of five. Each team’s goal is to fundraise $1000 from their community. Our collective goal is to raise $25,000 towards the cost of materials to build a safe, affordable Women Build home, just like Johanna’s. You can join the effort by starting your own Women Build team with friends, family or co-workers.

Create a team of five and work together to raise $1000 towards the 2021 Women Build home. In just a few clicks, you can create a personalized Women Build fundraising page to share on social media and email.
Donate towards the $25,000 Women Build goal, or support one of the fundraising teams directly by clicking DONATE TO WOMEN BUILD, scrolling to the bottom of that page and selecting a team to support.
Donate gently used furniture, appliances, home goods and more to support our work to make the cost of home something we all can afford.