Last month, Habitat said goodbye to two of the organization’s most senior staff. While Habitat will miss both Jennifer Perkins and Kris Cowan immensely, we are excited for their next journeys.
Jennifer Perkins has always been rooted in volunteerism. After college, Jennifer got straight to work serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator for an organization that built community gardens in low-income neighborhoods in Missoula, Montana. When her service year ended, Jennifer’s love of building community brought her back to her old home of Portland, Oregon where she worked in community outreach for Early Head Start, and then finally found her home of nine years as Habitat for Humanity’s Volunteer Programs Director. Through her work with Habitat, Jennifer has developed our volunteer program in unimaginable ways.
“Jennifer is a true champion of volunteerism,” said Erika Read, Habitat VP of Resource Development. “It is largely thanks to her nine years at the helm of the volunteer program that we have grown into the organization that we are today.”
Jennifer is leaving Habitat to start a new adventure with her family in northern California, where she will be doing work with cancer registry.
Lucky for Habitat, Kris Cowan’s dedication to the Habitat mission runs deep. Kris’ career with Habitat started way back in 2001, when he was hired on as an AmeriCorps with the Portland affiliate. After his service in Portland, he worked at the Habitat affiliate in Denver, Colorado, the affiliate in the Teton area of Wyoming and then found his way back to the Pacific Northwest, working for the Mt. Hood affiliate and then for Portland/Metro East after the merge in 2009. His construction knowledge and skills, along with his ability to lead on the build site has made him a vital part of the Habitat team, and a mentor for many regular volunteers.
“Kris’ dedication to Habitat is what inspired it in me and I have seen the same inspiration happen in others who have worked closely with him,” said Nicole Patterson, Habitat Construction Supervisor. “There are few people who have the natural tendency to inspire goodness; Kris Cowan has this gift.”
But this is not the end of the Habitat journey for Kris, as he will begin working for the Evergreen Habitat affiliate in Vancouver, Washington, heading the construction department.
Jennifer and Kris were not only extraordinary, hardworking staff, but amazing friends who helped to make our community better. Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East will miss them beyond words, but we know it is not goodbye, as once you have been touched by Habitat’s mission it is hard to stay away.