Business Leaders Turn Out for Habitat Pitch

No one was smiling more than Frank Hruska the evening some business leaders, elected officials, foundations and an assortment of other business types filled the Town Center City Club in Virginia Beach recently to graze on cold shrimp and hot skewered chicken and sip a cocktail. Why? Because it told Hruska, who directs Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads (SHR), that the glitterati cares about making sure low-income people have a decent place to live and recognizes that his organization has a principal role in that cause.

Why Habitat is such a popular non-profit is that it provides team “building” opportunities for companies and a hand-up, not a hand-out, to its partner families. The working moms who comprise most of Frank’s future homeowners must qualify for a subsidized mortgage and contribute a few hundred hours of sweat equity into the construction of their house. But it takes money for Habitat to acquire land, buy building materials, pay staff and hire skilled trades, like electricians, although volunteers do most of the hammering, sawing and painting.

This event was an opportunity to share the vision for the future of Habitat SHR to sustain operations for the long-term future of the organization.  So although Frank, a fast-talking and self-deprecating Navy vet from New York, did not actively solicit this night, he did ask for assistance in raising money for a new endowment-like investment fund to ensure that he always has dollars to buy building materials and lots when they come on the market.

Hruska is often on those construction sites himself in jeans and tees, so hobnobbing with the white-collar crowd is not his typical milieu. But on October 24th, he wowed them at the City Club, trusting they will keep Habitat for Humanity SHR in their thoughts and consideration for future budgets.

~Joel Rubin
Joel Rubin, a former network affiliate TV reporter and anchor in Hampton Roads, is president of Rubin Communications Group and a freelance writer. He is also director of the WINDSdays campaign to promote clean energy.

Photos: David Polston

[LEFT] The Habitat for Humanity SHR team (L-R): Kelley Hohorst, Frank Hruska, Katie Dininny, Dan Lear and Maya Billins, and [RIGHT] Virginia Beach mayor Robert “Bobby” M. Dyer