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January 24, 2012 8:37 am

EDITORIAL: Building foundations for a stronger community

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Habitat for Humanity’s presence in Powell expands

Keeping a good thing going is tough. Growing it into something better is even more difficult.

That’s why we’re glad to see Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity succeeding in its mission to provide affordable housing in Park County while also strengthening its financial base.

Last spring, the nonprofit opened a ReStore in Powell’s west end, selling recycled household items and building materials that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. The ReStore’s revenue goes toward administrative and other costs to help the nonprofit succeed in its mission to build homes for low-income families in Park County.

Mountain Spirit recently announced that it plans to break ground for a new home in Powell this spring. The organization hasn’t built a house in Powell for several years, and it’s exciting to know a deserving family will soon have a home of its own. The organization also is looking to apply for a grant to complete infrastructure in its subdivision in Cody.

While aided by donations and local churches, the ReStore has provided an important revenue stream for Mountain Spirit.

Considering the difficulties nonprofits have faced during the economic downturn, that’s especially good news.

Charities across the nation continue to face financial distress in an uncertain economy. Nonprofits have seen an increase in need but a decrease in donations.

According to the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, 59 percent of nonprofits in the U.S. reported last year’s donation income was flat or lower than in 2010 — which also wasn’t a great year for most charities.

Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity hasn’t been immune. The organization has endured leaner times and tightened budgets over the past few years. Habitat for Humanity recently recognized volunteers who have pressed through financial challenges and continued to work toward providing decent and affordable housing.

As it approaches its first anniversary in April, the ReStore has exceeded expectations, said Kenny Lee, the organization’s executive director.

During a meeting with Park County commissioners last month, Lee said the ReStore is “a catalyst for projects in Park County, and it’s helping a lot of people in Big Horn County (and) Washakie County as well.”

From its Powell roots, Mountain Spirit has branched out over the years and established a steady revenue base through the ReStore. We’re glad to see the organization growing, even in tough times.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link January 24, 2012 4:51 pm posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    Foundations start with good leadership,morals and ethics,something that is severely lacking from Powell to Washington DC on both sides of the aisle.

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