Join the Club

The first rule of Habitat for Humanity’s Builder’s Club is you tell everyone about the Builder’s Club. The homebuilding organization’s Upper Keys affiliate created the club/program as a way to recognize its most dedicated supporters.

It’s not all that difficult a club to join. There are three levels of commitment. First is the Bronze Hammer Level, which requires a pledge of $10,000 or $2,000 annually over five years. Silver Hammer level starts at $25,000 or $5,000 for five years. Gold Hammer level is $50,000 or $10,000 for five years.

“These are people who are the core of philanthropy. In their hearts they truly believe in what Habitat is all about. Most of our builder’s club members are people, businesses, or foundations that are constantly helping others, and were grateful to be included in their giving,” said Jack Niedbalski, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys. “Builders Club members are an integral part of the construction of roughly three new homes each year.”

Based on each donor’s pledge, a plate is added to the corresponding plaques located at the offices of the Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys. Aside from being forever immortalized, Builder’s Club members also have first option in attending VIP events the organization holds. All donations made to Habitat for Humanity are 100 percent tax deductible.

Some of the club’s most committed donors have included RIVA Motorsports, Snappers, Caribe Boat Sales and Marina, KLI Supply, the Islander Resort, and Shell World, which has donated $1,000 shopping sprees to new homeowners.

“In essence, it’s about doing whatever we can for the local community,” said Snapper’s owner Peter Althuis. “‘Be good, do good’ is one of our logos, and that’s what we’re always trying to achieve. We’re only a part of this community, and anyway we can help, we do.”

“Every one of our families that are able to purchase our homes have had to work very hard to get this opportunity, and I believe our club members and supporters see that we are doing our part to serve lower-income families that deserve it,” said Niedbalski.

Habitat for Humanity has simplified the process of sponsoring the construction of a home. When potential donors decide to help, they have the option of pledging any dollar amount they wish or they can work with the organization to donate costs specific to individual rooms, fixtures, even the driveway.

Along with financial support, others have provided various construction services. Businesses like CBT Construction, Kenneth R. Gentes LLC, Lindholm Roofing and Sheet Metal, and Beach House Garden Center have committed countless hours of labor in constructing Habitat homes in the Upper Keys.

“We are paying them to build the shell, but we’re playing way below market rate. It’s an enormous help, and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them,” said Niedbalski.

The organization is in the planning phases of eight new homes in the Upper Keys. Four homes dedicated to the late John Esslinger are being contructed at “Habitat at Esslinger Corner” at MM 89. Four Key Largo properties are in the planning as well.

The organization has set a goal of constructing 50 homes in the Upper Keys. As of today, 34 have been built, the last of which was sponsored by Snappers Restaurant and Bar.

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