Reaching New Heights in 2023

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a historic year in review

As 2023 comes to a close, we reflect on a historic year filled with meaningful milestones for our homeowners, volunteers, supporters, staff and board. Once again, our work this year was a collective effort of thousands of hands and hearts, including yours, which allowed us to navigate the challenges in providing affordable housing in greater Indy.

Watch the video for a recap of this incredible year! Thank you for playing a part in strengthening our mission. See you in 2024!

Read About Bugashane’s Passion for Computer Design

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Meet Bugashane Mugoovi, a promising first-year student at Purdue University, starting his academic journey in Computer Graphic Tech and UX Design. He gained a passion for computer design and software his first semester and was happy his major aligns with his interests. Hoping to make his parents proud, Bugashane chose Purdue because of their prestigious programs and to fulfill a dream of his own.  

Despite being in the early stages of his college career, Bugashane envisions a future working in computer graphics and software, with aspirations to work for companies like InVideo. His first semester at Purdue has been filled with exciting experiences, including plans to run for a position in the Student Government Association and engaging in campus life through intramural sports like volleyball. 

Bugashane’s educational journey is rooted in his family’s Habitat home, offering stability after multiple moves during his earlier years. He feels happy to know his siblings won’t have to constantly change schools because of their family moving. Their home also fosters a sense of togetherness. Memories of family gatherings and Sunday backyard cleanups paint a picture of a home.  

He recalls celebrating his brother’s birthday when they first moved into their home. “It was nice because there were a lot of shops nearby that we could take him. The fact that we live in a good location is nice.” The impact of their home extends beyond the physical space; it has brought positive changes to Bugashane’s family dynamics. With his father’s job now closer to home, the family enjoys more quality time together. 

We wish Bugashane the best as he navigates the exciting challenges of college life. Having the privilege of a secure home can empower individuals to pursue their dreams. Looking forward to all the success you will reach! 

Inspired by his story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Read more about the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients.

Hear From Kali About Her Pursuit In Nursing

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Kali Negussie is pursuing her second bachelor’s degree, this time in nursing at IUPUI. Having completed her undergraduate studies in psychology and human development at Purdue University last spring, Kali’s decision to transition to nursing stems from a desire to build stability and independence for herself early in life. The accelerated BSN program is set to begin in January 2024. She is interested in various specialties like NICU, pediatrics, dermatology, and public health and aspires to become a nurse practitioner. 

Kali’s family journey with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity began in 2009 when her family moved into their four-bedroom, one-bath home. Originating from Ethiopia, Kali’s family found a place to call their own in their Habitat home. Before, they were renters through the Carraige House, where other immigrant families find housing support. Her grandmother comes to visit often.  

For Kali, their Habitat home houses her favorite memories, including putting up the Christmas tree and sharing Sunday lunches as a family. “For my parents, it was a place they can call home. My dad said he wanted to own a home in his lifetime.” We are happy to see he is finally living out this dream. She also remembers painting rooms around the house with her mother when they first moved in. 

Encouraged by her father, who values education deeply, Kali applied for the Greater Indy Habitat scholarship. He said, “Education is the most important thing because no one can take it away from you.” Her academic achievements, including finishing ninth among all students academically at Ben Davis, reflect the dedication to education instilled by her family. She attributes her success to being surrounded by high achieving individuals. 

She chose IUPUI because it is close to home and because there are good hospitals in Indianapolis that she can train at. As she prepares to attend IUPUI, Kali is planning a trip to Ethiopia this fall to spend time with family and friends. Through the scholarship, Kali is one step closer to reaching her dreams and also is excited for continuous growth. The Negussie home is an example of the power of stable, affordable homeownership. 

Congratulations, Kali! 

Inspired by her story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Discover the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients.

Wisdom Korrie’s Path to Mechanical Engineering

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Wisdom Korrie is on a promising journey as a first-year student at Ivy Tech. His pathway to Ivy Tech started through the Dream Alive program and a campus tour. DREAM Alive is a nonprofit that provides 7th –12th graders career-focused experimental learning, mentored relationships, and character development. He realized Ivy Tech was a perfect fit for him. Currently enrolled in English and Economics classes, Wisdom is exploring different subjects and options. He has expressed interest in mechanical engineering and automotive technology. He hopes to study something that gives him versatility. Looking ahead, Wisdom envisions transitioning to IUPUI after completing two years at Ivy Tech. 

Wisdom’s passion for mechanics traces back to working on cars with his father, who gave him hands-on learning. “My dad would say, ‘Wisdom, come look at this.’” He started doing break jobs, coolant washes, and transmission work. The City Life on Wheels program at Purdue Poly Tech High School further fueled his enthusiasm. “I was into really anything to get my hands working.” 

The Korrie family, owners of their Habitat home for nearly seven years, found a place where they could grow. Before Habitat, they were in a duplex in a neighborhood that was not the best. “My parents leaped for joy when they discovered Habitat,” shared Wisdom. “They had a lot more freedom to do what we want.” As a middle child among seven siblings, Wisdom is responsible for taking his siblings to school.  

When Wisdom learned about the Greater Indy Habitat scholarship opportunity, he said, “Oh wow. I feel like God is working for me.” As he begins his career at Ivy Tech, Wisdom looks forward to forging connections, making friends, and embracing the college experience. We hope God continues to work for Wisdom and his family! 

Inspired by his story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Discover the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients!

From Dreams to Degrees: Alexis Adams’ Scholarship Journey

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Meet Alexis Adams, a tenacious junior at IUPUI on the journey of forensic science. Raised in the nurturing environment of her Habitat home since the age of three, Alexis has not only excelled academically but also has a deep passion for true crime and chemistry. 

Choosing IUPUI for its renowned forensic science program, Alexis was also drawn to initiatives they offer like the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement program (DEAP). Here, she gets diverse experiences in a sometimes less diverse academic setting. Alexis continues to excel academically, surpassing her own expectations and steadily proving her capabilities to herself, despite her doubts. 

Balancing school, Alexis, a former choir singer, now works at Walmart and is now seeking internships to gain hands-on experience in her field. With aspirations to become a forensic scientist, she envisions herself as a wonder woman making significant contributions to her field in a new city outside of Indy. 

For Alexis, her Habitat home is not just a house; it’s the backdrop to so many childhood memories, from walks to school with her brother to neighborhood friends and family gatherings. Alexis attributes her success and resilience to the stability provided by her home and acknowledges her mother’s teachings on the importance of having an affordable mortgage. Alexis sees the Habitat scholarship as another valuable gift to her family.  

Congratulations Alexis for being one of four recipients of the Habitat scholarship! Your dedication to your academic journey and pursuit of forensic science is incredible. Wishing you continued success in achieving your goals! 

Inspired by her story? Click here to learn about the 2024 scholarship opportunity.

Read more of the stories of our remaining three scholarship recipients!

Meet Our 2023 New Board Members

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Please join us in welcoming them to the Greater Indy Habitat family!

We are pleased to announce our new 2023 board members! All will bring a wealth of knowledge to our organization, and their backgrounds will complement those of current board members and staff. We’re excited to see their diverse expertise shine through our mission. Their ability to bring about change allows us to consider them inspiring leaders who will further our efforts in the community. We are thrilled to have new members on board and are confident they will continue to bring local visibility to our organization. 

Ashley Scruggs

Elements Financial Federal Credit Union

“As a board member, I look forward to being a part of the incredible impact Habitat for Humanity makes in our community. Coming together for the shared purpose of partnering with homeowners is what makes Habitat for Humanity’s mission so powerful. 

Growing up, our family had the unique opportunity to own a home through Habitat for Humanity. The work we put in and the ownership and stability that this experience provided for us was critical to my foundation. I have always wanted to give back to an organization that had a direct impact on both my personal success and our broader community.”

Justin Crotzer


As a Habitat for Humanity board member, I am looking forward to taking my passion for the organization’s 5 values, getting more deeply engaged in the organization, and seeking opportunities to steer it toward sustainable growth alongside my board peers.  I stand to gain as an individual from this experience in how I lead in other organizations given the great mix of organizational talent among the board and management team alike. 

Calling upon my passion for the organization’s mission and purpose to drive operational excellence and substantial growth, 27 – 37 homes. 

Bringing a community of people together to build homes for those willing to make the sacrifice and commitment to be the change, changes lives for the better.  Focusing on providing a hand up not a handout drives accountability and generates integrity, two very important factors associated to value creation for individuals and organizations alike.”

Kelli Lawrence

Onyx + East

“I am looking forward to working with a talented and diverse team at Habitat and fellow board members in their mission to provide more home ownership opportunities to residents of Central Indiana.  The board and staff’s passion about the mission of Habitat are inspiring and I look forward to contributing my experience in development and construction to help further that mission.  

A quality and stable home is such a foundational piece to overall stability in life for all individuals, especially families and children.  To work with an organization driven to walk alongside those in our community in their journey to finding their stable home is an honor and privilege. “

Matthew Wright

Cisco Systems Inc

“As a board member of Habitat for Humanity, I look forward to being a part of the organization’s mission to provide affordable housing solutions to families in need and making a positive impact on the community. I am excited to work with fellow board members and volunteers to develop strategic initiatives that will help further Habitat’s goal of building strength, stability, and self-reliance through housing. Additionally, I look forward to being a part of the decision-making process that will shape the direction of the organization and ensure its long-term sustainability. On a personal note, my father, uncle, and both grandfathers were carpenters and volunteering with Habitat brings back fond memories from my youth swinging a hammer with those wonderful men.  

The Habitat for Humanity mission is important because it is rooted in the belief that every person deserves a decent place to live. By providing people with safe, affordable homes, the organization is working to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. This not only affects their health and well-being but also their ability to achieve their full potential. Habitat for Humanity is working to break the cycle of poverty and give families the foundation they need to build a better future.”

Anne Sharkey

First Internet Bank

“I am looking forward to working with the other board members to continue and expand the vision and mission of Habitat. 

I look forward to cultivating and deepening partnerships in order to bring affordable housing opportunities for families that will hopefully change their lives forever.  

Homeownership is a central component of the American Dream; it not only provides stability for families but strengthens the bonds of our communities. 

The scarcity of affordable housing is reaching a critical stage.  Habitat for Humanity offers a solution that serves our neighbors, while creating a path to long-term financial independence.”

Welcome Home 2020 Homeowners

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In a year when a safe, affordable home is as important as ever, we want to thank you for helping make the dream of homeownership possible for our families. Though challenges abounded in 2020, our homebuyers, sponsors, volunteers, donors, and partners pulled together to find solutions, offer each other grace, and return to the imperative work of our mission.

Whether you wielded a paintbrush, offered words of encouragement, or shared a gift to support our work, we are grateful for your partnership and the belief that everyone deserves a decent place to call home. Through the generous support of our community, we:

These smiles below say it best – thank you for welcoming home our 2020 homeowners!

Jim Morris
President & CEO
Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity

P.S. This winter we’re getting a head start on building homes for 2021. Your donation today helps make this early work possible so that even more families can build next year!




Expanding My Impact with FreeWill

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This summer we caught up with Denise Conrady to learn more about her experience volunteering with Habitat and why she used FreeWill via Greater Indy Habitat to set up her will…for free! Get to know Denise below and discover why FreeWill might be the right tool for you.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity?
I decided to volunteer for several reasons:
1) I love working on houses,
2) I wanted to give back to the community, and
3) it makes me feel good!

What do you enjoy most about being a Tiger?
I still consider myself a baby cub but there are several reasons I love the idea of being a Tiger:
1) I love the camaraderie and working on a team,
2) I love sharing my knowledge (directing volunteers), and
3) I love learning new things. As I am not yet retired (and will probably never retire) I can use the knowledge I gain volunteering in my freelance design work. (Check out her work here!)

Why did you decide to create a free will?
I have been needing to create a will and circumstances just sort of fell together what with the Covid craziness, extra time on my hands, and the fear that if I did pass, someone would have to make a lot of decisions and take care of my stuff. The FreeWill option just showed up on my radar at the right time. I also like the idea that it is free! It fits my budget!

How was using the FreeWill tool?
I have not completed the process but so far, I find the tool very easy to use. The one thing the tool cannot do for you is all the prep work necessary as you will see in my next answer.

Do you have suggestions for how folks can prepare before starting the tool?
1) Know what your assets are!
2) Decide what you are going to leave to who.
3) Elect an executor and have a conversation with that person.
4) Pick a guardian for kids (and/or pets) – have a conversation with that person.

What compelled you to leave a legacy gift with Habitat?
I don’t really know – it just felt right. There might not be much when I die but even $10 is something, right?

Denise is absolutely right – every gift, no matter the amount, makes a difference in the lives of Greater Indy families…for generations. 

Creating a will is one of the most impactful ways to support the people and causes you care about. As you think about the future, we invite you to peruse FreeWill to write your legally valid will in under 25 minutes. 

Thank you, Denise, for your continued and broad support of our homeowners, volunteers, staff, and mission!


14 Ways to Get Involved from Home

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In light of our COVID-19 response plan, getting involved with Greater Indy Habitat looks a little different this spring than it has in the past. While we are temporarily on pause with our on-site volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of ways to get involved and further the mission of Habitat during these uncertain times. Now, more than ever, our mission and homebuyers in the program are reliant on the support of volunteers like you to come alongside of them.

Here is a list of ways that you can get involved with us right from your living room:

  1. Shelter@Home Selfie: Take a photo of a creative way you are sheltering in place or your favorite part about spending time at home and share it with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @IndyHabitat.
  2. Enews: Looking back at the last couple of weeks, things have been changing fast. Signing up for our enews is quick and easy and lets you receive the latest #IndyHabitat happenings as these next weeks progress. Sign up here. Not sure if you’re getting our messages? Send us a note at!
  3. Make a gift: Our homeowners are nurses, food service workers, daycare providers, airport employees. Some are seeing hours slashed or wages eliminated. Others are working double-time to keep our community safe. As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, many of our families will be hit the hardest. In a time when very little is certain, you can help build stability and certainty for your neighbors with a gift to Habitat. Consider making a gift at
  4. Share a recipe: Do you have a recipe you love to make? Perhaps a family favorite? Send us a link to your favorite recipe and we will pass it along to a Habitat homebuyer so they can begin to create new memories in their first home. Send us a message on social media or an email.
  5. Watch our history: Looking for a fun family activity while you are spending time inside? Briars in the Cotton Patch is now available on Amazon Prime for free. Watch and learn more about Habitat’s profound beginnings!
  6. Watch our progress: Check out our YouTube channel. Curious about the heartbeat behind all things #IndyHabitat? Check out this short video to watch more about who we are and what our mission is.
  7. Create a free will: Do you have an up-to-date will? Creating a will is one of the most impactful ways to support the people and causes you care about. We have partnered with FreeWill to provide you with a tool to create one for free. It is easy to fill out and takes no longer than 25 minutes to complete! Get started by clicking this link.
  8. Save your spring cleaning donations: Save up your donations and get in the queue to schedule your free donation pick-up once our store locations reopen.
  9. Refer a friend: Invite a friend or someone you know to our next Homeownership Info Session to discover if Habitat homeownership is right for them!
  10. Become an HYP: Looking for a super fun and unique way to get involved in the mission of #IndyHabitat?! Check out our Young Professionals group and participate in build days, networking opportunities, fundraising events, & more. Visit
  11. Give us your feedback!: Just as Jim, our president and CEO, stated, we realize that this is a time to pause on building and volunteer activities. However, this pause is a great time to hear from you! If you have volunteered with us before, complete our brief survey so that we can implement positive changes in our volunteer experience when we’re back and running later this year! Take our survey by clicking here.
  12. Add to your reading list: Finding extra time on your hands to read? Our “resident reader” and volunteer coordinator, Shana, compiled a list of her top five recommended reads related to the issue of affordable housing. Some books shed light on Habitat’s work but each one will challenge you with a new story or perspective about the importance of a safe and affordable place to call home. Check out the recommendations here. P.S. Have any good books we should add to our list? Let us know!
  13. Advocate for affordable housing: Did you know 1 in 6 U.S. households pay half or more of their income on housing? Many of these families currently in our homeownership program are feeling the crippling economic effects during these uncertain times as wages are lost or hours are cut. Consider emailing your members of Congress to urge them to continue prioritizing the needs of low-income families and the organizations that work hard to serve them. Click here to send a message.
  14. Follow us!: Want to stay up-to-date with all things #IndyHabitat? Stay in the know and get a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re up to by following us on social media. Follow us @IndyHabitat on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn for future updates and even more ways to interact with Habitat and support affordable homeownership!

Five Recommended Books to Read

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The ways we spend our time as of late have shifted for many. Perhaps you have more time to read as you shelter at home. Perhaps you want to learn more about why Habitat for Humanity exists. Perhaps you are looking for find stories that are challenging and inspiring.

Our “resident reader” and volunteer coordinator, Shana Lewis, compiled a list of recommended reading related to the issue of affordable housing. Some books shed light on Habitat’s work but each one will challenge you with a new story or perspective about the importance of a safe and affordable place to call home.

Check out the recommendations below and add your own in the comments!

Three Houses; A Strategy We Can Build On by Jonathan Reckford 

“Three Houses: A Strategy We Can Build On” is the inside story of how Habitat for Humanity’s current strategic plan was developed and has unfolded to result in unprecedented numbers of people being served with innovative and affordable housing solutions.

Shana shares: You can’t have a Habitat reading list without including a book written by Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford. This book is full of inspiring Habitat stories from all across the globe. It’s a great book to read if you’re looking for a message of hope in the midst of the current landscape.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Shana shares: Last winter, I had the pleasure of hearing Matthew Desmond speak about the country-wide crisis of eviction at an event we co-hosted. In Evicted, readers are given the chance to walk in another person’s shoes with each turn of the page. The more families you read about, the more you begin to understand the complexity of the eviction crisis in our nation.

Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World by Jonathan Reckford

Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, has seen time and again the powerful benefits that arise when people from all walks of life work together to help one another. In this uplifting audiobook, he shares true stories of people involved with Habitat as volunteers and future homeowners who embody seven timeless virtues—kindness, community, empowerment, joy, respect, generosity, and service—and shows how we can all practice these to improve the quality of our own lives as well as those around us.

Shana shares: Okay, I had to add another Jonathan Reckford book! This is another book filled with inspiring stories about Habitat homeowners all over the globe. Many times when we talk about the affordable housing crisis, it paints a very bleak picture. This book shines light on stories that show us what we can do when we come together for others.

The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore’s Racial Divide by Lawrence Lanahan

The criss-crossing stories of Mark, a white devout Christian who sells his suburban home to move to Baltimore’s inner city, and Nicole, a black mother determined to leave West Baltimore for the suburbs, chronicle how the region became so deeply segregated and why these fault lines persist today. Mark and Nicole personify the enormous disparities in access to safe housing, educational opportunities, and decent jobs. As these characters pack up their lives and change places, Lanahan examines what it will take to save our cities and communities: Do we put money into poor, segregated neighborhoods? Move families out into areas with more opportunity?

This eye-opening account of how a city creates its black, white, rich, and poor spaces suggests these problems are not intractable; but they are destined to persist until each of us—despite living in separate worlds—understands we have something at stake.

Shana shares: This book has been on my list for awhile. I’m always drawn to books that share the issues through people’s experiences. Sometimes issues surrounding housing can be hard to wrap you mind around, but the human factor helps relate.

The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida

In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, demonstrates how the same forces that power the growth of the world’s superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities still stagnate, and middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Our winner-take-all cities are just one manifestation of a profound crisis in today’s urbanized knowledge economy.

Shana shares: This is a book I’ve been meaning to dive into. This is another book that discusses the issues of gentrification and the divide between upper- and lower-class neighborhoods. What really draws me to this book is the call to action that we can do something about this crisis.

What books, blog posts or podcasts would you add to the list? Share your recommendations in the comments below!