Happy Birthday To Us: 40 Years of Orange Habitat

April 24, 2024

As Orange Habitat commemorates its 40th anniversary, it’s a moment to reflect on the incredible journey from its inception to the thriving organization it is today. Founded officially on April 14, 1984, Orange Habitat’s roots trace back to a pivotal visit by Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity International, to Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill in 1981.

From its earliest days, Orange Habitat operated on the principles of grassroots community engagement and volunteerism. For over a decade, it relied solely on the dedication and passion of volunteers until 1992, when Susan Levy became its first paid staff member. The organization’s resourcefulness and commitment to its mission are evident in anecdotes like the time it received $30,000 worth of donated carpet, which was ingeniously traded for other necessities to sustain its building projects while funds were being raised.

Today, the impact of Orange Habitat’s work is tangible, having partnered with over 970 families locally and abroad through tithes. Orange Habitat has created affordable homeownership throughout the county through new construction and has helped sustain affordable homeownership through home repairs. Orange Habitat has given over $1 million to our partners abroad to fund affordable housing solutions including our current partners Honduras and Myanmar. Behind this success stands a team of over 30 staff members, tirelessly organizing and facilitating the organization’s endeavors.

To celebrate this milestone, Orange Habitat is embarking on a journey of storytelling, interviewing 40 individuals who have been integral to its journey since 1984. Through these personal accounts and memories, the organization aims to honor its past while looking forward to a future filled with continued growth, community support, and transformative change.

Click here to watch the videos currently posted, and stay tuned during the year as we continue to share new voices.