Local Habitat for Humanity names new executive director
Colorado nonprofit veteran Lisa Cooper will begin a new role on Jan. 10 as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Grand County.
“The need for affordable housing in Grand County has become more intense in the wake of COVID-19 and the East Troublesome wildfire,” Cooper said. “I’m excited to be part of the solution with the county’s Habitat affiliate. Change depends on ordinary people who have the courage to say we can do this together as a community and serve those individuals that are in need.”
Cooper currently serves as director of programs for the Blue Spruce Habitat affiliate in Evergreen and brings to her new role a proven 14-year history of energy and innovation at various Colorado nonprofits.
Between 2008 and 2018 she worked at the Denver Rescue Mission, where for four years she was director of operations. She served in the same role with Catholic Charities in Denver in 2018 and 2019. In those roles she managed, directed and oversaw operations at large facilities, prepared multi-million-dollar budgets, and managed staff.
At the Blue Spruce Habitat affiliate for the past two and a half years she helped oversee family services, loan packaging, volunteer recruitment and scheduling, and construction management. She also is a licensed real estate broker.
“Lisa was our dream candidate for the critical executive director role with Habitat for Humanity of Grand County,” Board President Martin Smith said. “She’s deeply familiar with Habitat operations and resources, and has more than 20 years of demonstrated expertise and leadership in the real estate and nonprofit worlds. We’re lucky to have someone with her combination of skills working on behalf of Grand County’s Habitat families, contractors and volunteers.”
Cooper received her master’s degree in organizational leadership in 2019 from Colorado State University, where she also received her bachelor’s in management in 2011. She has been a real estate broker since 2004 and says her lifelong passion to learn is driven by her desire to become the best leader she can be.
Habitat’s mission is to make home ownership possible for members of the Grand County community who otherwise might never get the chance — and who are willing to invest their own time and effort for the opportunity. Selected homeowners typically help build their homes and pay an affordable mortgage, working alongside the dedicated crew of generous contractors, skilled framers, unskilled lumber- and tool-toters, lunch providers, and assorted other helpers.
The Grand County organization has built 13 houses since its founding in 1999, and currently is building homes on seven adjacent lots in Hot Sulphur Springs. It hopes to double its home-building capacity in the coming year to respond to the ongoing affordable housing crisis brought on by the twin disasters of COVID and the wildfire which destroyed 366 of the county’s homes in 2020.
“We’re confident Lisa can help Habitat better respond to the county’s acute need for affordable housing,” Smith said. “Like all Habitat staff and volunteers, she’s smart, energetic and community-minded.”
Habitat for Humanity of Grand County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
• Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
• Have a qualifying credit score and verifiable income.
• Have sufficient income to be able to pay a monthly mortgage payment. Habitat for Humanity of Grand County can consider applicants with income up to 80% of Grand County’s median income — approximately $4,206 per month for a family of two or $5,252 for a family of four.
• Live in housing conditions that are not adequate for your family’s needs.
• Have lived in Grand County for at least one year.
• Commit 200 hours of volunteer time for each household member over the age of 18 to help Habitat volunteers on local home-building projects, or help with fundraising events and mailings.
• Habitat for Humanity soon will begin taking applications for the houses it plans to build in 2022 and 2023. That process begins with meetings where potential applicants can learn more about the program. If you want to place your name on the invitation list, call Board President Martin Smith at 970-887-9138 or email him at email@example.com.
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