2021 Impact Award Winners

Affiliate of the Year – HFH of Cleveland 

Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland was recognized as Affiliate of the Year for its work during the early part of the pandemic. Cleveland finished all of their scheduled home builds in 2020; staff rotated in small groups to stock the ReStore; an anonymous donor gifted HFH of Cleveland with almost $400,000, which was used to establish an endowment fund that has grown to close to $1 million today. ReStore sales are up almost 20% over the previous year and it is operating at a 50% net profit.

Julie Romine (on Facetime with Dwayne Spencer!) – Leader of the Year, w/HFH of Greater Memphis

Julie Romine, from Habitat of Greater Memphis, is this year’s winner because of her recent work focused on the Aging in Place initiative. Julie wrote the successful SeniorTrust grant proposal that secured $13 million in funding. Together with other participating affiliates, led by Memphis, this program will serve more than 1,200 older Tennesseans. Julie has also helped to raise more than $17 million to support this initiative, across Tennessee.

Outstanding Construction Volunteer of the Year – Scott Carter’s Family, HFH of Williamson-Maury

Scott Carter of Habitat Williamson-Maury was a volunteer for Habitat for more than 20 years. Every Saturday, he was the first one to a job site and the last one to leave. Scott’s warm smile and steady laugh created an inclusive feeling on the build site. Not only did he work well with volunteers, he took extra special care of his fellow crew leaders, bringing a cooler with each person’s favorite flavor of Gatorade, hauling out extra chairs for others to rest in over lunch, and even buying tool belts and hammers for a handful of his close crew leader buddies. Sadly, Scott passed away suddenly the first weekend in June. We would like to recognize Scott’s many years as a dedicated, joyful construction volunteer.

Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year – Catherine Gilreath, accepted by Knoxville HFH

Dr. Catherine A. Gilreath gave her first gift of $50 in 2002. Since then, Dr. Gilreath has continually supported the ministry of Knoxville Habitat, donating both time and money. In recent years, she has also encouraged other fellow donors and demonstrated creative ways of giving to leverage additional support. This past year, she and a friend (Dr. Veda Maxwell) pledged a dollar-for-dollar match for every Women Build donation, allowing the construction of two homes! She has recently included Knoxville Habitat in her estate planning.

Outstanding Leadership Volunteer of the Year – Tom Wallace, HFH of Greater Nashville

Tom Wallace began volunteering with Habitat of Greater Nashville in 2006. Today he is a Supervisor on Site for six new builds per year across several counties, traveling over 3,000 miles each year at his own expense. He has helped to construct over 40 homes and guided the work of nearly 4,000 community volunteers. He has served on the Wilson County community board and now also serves on the full Board of Directors of Habitat of Greater Nashville. Also, during lockdown in early 2020, he used his professional IT skills to set up remote access meetings for the community board.

Outstanding ReStore Volunteer of the Year – Louis Spencer, accepted by HFH of Greater Chattanooga

Louis Spencer has been a faithful Habitat volunteer for sixteen years, becoming a familiar face in the downtown Chattanooga ReStore. He intentionally gets to know customers, now calling many by name. He always shows up with a smile and offers to help in any way needed.

Outstanding Community Leader of the Year – Pilot Company, accepted by Knoxville HFH

Pilot Company has supported Knoxville Habitat for nearly three decades and has sponsored homes for almost 20 years, fully funding 24 homes. They have supported countless special projects and events and executives have served on the Board of Directors. In August 2020, Pilot and Flying J travel centers offered all of their customers nationwide the opportunity to round-up their change at checkout for Habitat for Humanity, raising over $212,000 for Habitat International, with Knoxville Habitat receiving a portion for assisting with the corporate connection.

Legacy of Volunteerism Award – Mrs. Sarah Reynolds, Loudon County HFH

Sarah Reynolds has served Loudon County Habitat for almost thirty years, in almost every capacity imaginable. She and her husband were part of a small group who organized the affiliate in 1992. Since then, she has helped get the ReStore underway, helped rebuild the offices from a fire, acted as a support person to homeowner families, hosted a Christmas dinner for them, and acted as driving force behind the establishment of a Women Build program, and served on the board of directors. Today at 89, Sarah continues to volunteer at the store occasionally and to participate in special events.

Creatively Reimagining Fundraising in a COVID World – HFH of Greater Nashville

Among the many challenges of the past year was figuring out new ways to maintain revenue in unprecedented times. For Habitat of Greater Nashville, that meant replacing two in-person indoor meal fundraisers, in two different counties. An October event in Cheatham County was re-created into a drive-in event, featuring live music, boxed meals and audio broadcasting of the program, celebrating the Habitat homeowner with honking horns and flashing headlights. A November luncheon in Nashville was replaced with the Gingerbread House Appeal. Sponsors provided Habitat with names of recipients of a gingerbread house kit; kits were “Habitat branded” with decorations using Habitat colors and were delivered to over 400 recipients.

Outstanding Partnership with Out of State Group – the Newman Catholic Student Center of Northern Illinois University w/Rutherford County Area HFH

In Spring 2006, the first group of volunteers from Newman Catholic Student Center of Northern Illinois University came to Rutherford County through the HFHI Collegiate Challenge Program. Since then, almost 300 students have volunteered 9,000 hours with Rutherford County Area Habitat, completing myriad tasks on the construction site, helping with special events and attending dedications.