Habitat board member Susie Visher works with a future Habitat homeowner in Sonsonate, El Salvador.

Many of us are confounded by the depth and breadth of human need that exists in the world today. We want to improve the quality of life in our own backyard, yet know that in other parts of the world, so many more need so much.

Fortunately, when you make a gift to Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, you help at home and abroad. We use 90% of unrestricted donations to build affordable homes, improve neighborhoods and add to the vitality of Portland and Gresham. In addition, 10% goes to build affordable homes with one of our overseas Habitat partner countries. We call this tithing. Tithing is an ancient practice of many cultures and faiths, and we proudly commit to it in our covenant agreement with Habitat for Humanity International.

Since our affiliate’s inception in 1981, we have tithed over $700,000 around the world. Land, labor and materials cost much less in developing countries – $4,500 is the average total cost of a Habitat home worldwide – so it does not take much to have measurable impact. While building over 200 homes locally, we’ve also been able to help build 200 homes overseas. That’s 400 incredibly diverse families all thriving in simple, decent and affordable homes.

There are currently 80 HFHI partner countries, but for the past few years we have chosen to focus on two countries for maximum impact. Since 2005, we have tithed to HFH El Salvador and to HFH Thailand. Our board of directors approves tithe partners based on factors including level of need, cost effectiveness, accountability and ability to collaborate. For example, staff, board, donors, volunteers and others have participated in Global Village work trips to both El Salvador and Thailand, working firsthand on homes they’ve helped fund.

As HFHI continues to grow as a global leader in development work, new programs addressing issues in connection with housing, such as health, gender equality, urbanization and disaster response are being created. But for now, our affiliate will continue to fund only simple, decent housing.

If you would like to make a tithe donation, or conversely would like to specify that your donation not be tithed (keeping 100% local), please contact our office for guidance. And from all of us, muchas gracias, khawp khun kha and thank you!

Interested in building homes on a Global Village trip? Contact Sasha Davis at sasha@habitatportlandmetro.org to get more information.

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