Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County Leaders Organizing Women’s Build
Photographer / Brandi Caplinger
After teaching elementary school for several years, Tiffany Woods decided to become a full-time stay-at-home mom to her two boys, as well as a full-time volunteer in Johnson County. She helped organize the Neighbors of West Old Town Greenwood Group, she was on the board for the Greenwood Education Foundation and Leadership Johnson County, and for the past eight years she and her husband Josh have donated countertops from their business, Peak Stone Company, to Habitat for Humanity projects.
“I love being attached to the community,” Woods says.
The Habitat women’s build happens every other year in the fall. Two years ago, Maribeth Alspach asked Woods to join her team. Woods agreed and was blown away by the level of commitment from all involved.
“There are contractors who are either still employed or are independent business owners who donate their time,” Woods says. “One man gave up two weeks of his vacation to be the lead helper on these homes. That gave me a glimpse into what Habitat was all about.”
Prior to her involvement, she had assumed the house was free of charge to the recipient, but it’s not. Each team must commit to raising a minimum of $4,000 to $6,000, but those fundraising efforts help make the build more affordable for the recipient. That individual dedicates more than 100 hours of what’s called “sweat equity.” They also take 100 hours in financial education courses to learn about budgeting and finances.
“It’s a hand-up, not a handout, to improve their situation,” says Woods, noting that this year’s Habitat recipient will be Misty, a single mother, and her four children.
This year the executive director asked Woods to lead her own team. COVID-19 created several challenges. For starters, the number of people allowed on the job site was reduced to 15. In addition, the cost of lumber has gone up 400% and continues to increase. Normally a house build would cost $95,000. This year, however, building the exact same house will be more than $158,000. Plus, appliances are hard to come by.
On top of all that, many small businesses who would normally donate labor or supplies have had to pull out. None of this deterred Woods, who assembled a team of 15 women with representation from cabinet companies, building firms, real estate, tax law and design companies, calling themselves the House of Rosies (a nod to the iconic Rosie the Riveter).
“We wanted to network with other women in the housing and construction industry,” Woods says. “We also wanted to help bring more awareness of Habitat’s mission to those who have the potential to really impact the organization in a positive way.”
An example of one such person is Tina Duncan of Duncan Home Services, who instantly donated HVAC equipment and labor to the build as soon as she heard from Woods.
To help offset the financial burden of the build, the team decided to host two fundraisers. At 6 p.m. on July 15, they’re hosting a bingo event called “Guys & Dolls Help Build the Walls” at Barn at Bay Horse Inn.
“It’s a spin on the traditional purse bingo,” Woods says. “We’re going to have prizes that appeal to both men and women – things like bourbon, golf, cigars and spas.”
In addition, on July 17 they’re doing a motorcycle charity ride in collaboration with Almost Home (Maribeth Alspach’s team) and the Shelbyville Eagle Riders (a charity motorcycle group). The Habitat 4 Humanity Ride Tour starts at noon at Southside Harley-Davidson. Riders will make stops at the Corner Bar and the Crowbar, drive past the build site, and finish at Whit’s Inn. The event will include food, raffles, a silent auction and live music. Between the two events, they hope to raise upwards of $30,000.
The cost for the Ride Tour is $20 per ride, and $10 per passenger. VIP tickets are $100, which includes one rider admission, a ride T-shirt, a dinner ticket and a VIP reserved spot at the front of the pack. Sponsorships are $250 to $5,000, and sponsor names are listed on the back of the T-shirts.
“People are desperate for social interaction so I’m expecting a great turnout,” Woods says.
Construction for the home, which will be built off of Tracy Road in Whiteland, kicks off in mid-August and should take approximately three months to complete.
Donations may be made directly to Habitat for Humanity at habitatindiana.salsalabs.org/johnsoncounty/index.html. Designate “Team House of Rosies” in the comment section.
Tiffany Woods, Peak Stone Company
Kelly McLaughlin, Mad Chase Real Estate
Lindsey Glidden, Red Thread Staging & Design
Lacey Bland, Title Alliance of Indy Metro
Tina Duncan, Duncan Home Services
Brandy Burgoyne, Rick Campbell Builder, Inc.
Pam Corman, Corman Security & Electronics
Alisa McPheron, Miller Maid Cabinets
Cari Chastain, Studio 6.2.6
Amanda Cottingham-Johnson, Barn at Bay Horse Inn
Amy Henderson Jones, Jones Pyatt Law
Melissa New, Euclid Home Designs
Casey Lucas, Greenwood Homes Realty
Molly Laut, City of Greenwood/Mayor Mark W. Myers
Shawn Bauer, Greenwood Community Schools