W&L’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter Awarded State Farm Matching Grant

Laura Beth Ellis '14 and Chris Ives '14

Laura Beth Ellis '14 and Chris Ives '14

The Washington and Lee University Habitat for Humanity Chapter has received one of four nationwide $10,000 State Farm Insurance Company matching grants for 2013–2014. This is the seventh year that Habitat for Humanity and State Farm have partnered to offer the Campus Chapter State Farm Matching Grant, and the second time that W&L's chapter has received one.

State Farm requires the recipients to raise an amount equal to the grant and to donate it to their affiliate chapter. For the W&L chapter, that is the Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity.

The W&L Habitat for Humanity Chapter is led by co-chairs Chris Ives and Laura Beth Ellis, both seniors. "They have had a very successful fund-raising campaign this year," said Adam Schwartz, the Lawrence Term Professor of Business Administration/Finance and the group's faculty advisor, "and they did it out of the force of their own efforts."

Under the leadership of Ives and Ellis, the chapter's fund-raising board has already raised $14,750 through its popular Habitat Hotel, which took place during W&L's Parents and Family Weekend in October. Members of the W&L community and local residents host parents of W&L students in their homes during the weekend. Parents pay $150 per night, and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.

For this year's Habitat Hotel, 40 hosts provided accommodation for 41 W&L families, and the proceeds exceeded the goal by $2,000.

"I get all these great e-mails from parents saying how they had a wonderful experience with their hosts, and how they want to do it again next year, and tell other people what a great idea it is, and that it supports a great cause," said Ellis, who organized the event.

"Adding a $10,000 matching grant to the $14,750 raised with Habitat Hotel will allow us to purchase the materials required to build the shell of a home," said Lynn Leech, executive director of Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity. "The chapter should be very proud of their efforts. I know we are."

"Chris, Laura Beth and all the chapter members have done an outstanding job of fund-raising, and the families in Rockbridge County who need decent and affordable housing will benefit from their efforts," she continued.

Ellis is particularly grateful to the volunteers at Habitat for Humanity, including Jane Dunlap, Emily King, Linda Wilder and Peggy Riethmiller. She also noted the hard work of W&L juniors Charlotte Sisk and Ellen Gleason, who will become co-chairs of the W&L Habitat for Humanity Chapter next year.

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