CLEARWATER — In recognition of its nine-year partnership supporting Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County’s affordable homeownership program, Raymond James Financial was honored as “Habitat Partner of the Year” during the nonprofit’s inaugural Blueprint gala, March 15 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront.
Paul Reilly, CEO of Raymond James Financial, accepted the “Golden Hammer” award on behalf of Raymond James from Habitat Pinellas board chair Victoria Tylman.
“Habitat Pinellas has been a major beneficiary of Raymond James’ generosity in this community,” said Tylman. “Our partnership began with a single contribution to Habitat Pinellas and has grown dramatically over the years. Because of their extraordinary commitment to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, we are honored to present Raymond James with the Golden Hammer Award as our Habitat Partner of the Year.”
Since 2005, Raymond James employees have given close to 2,700 volunteer hours building Habitat Pinellas homes and the company has contributed nearly $350,000 to the nonprofit. To date, Raymond James Financial has sponsored five Habitat Pinellas homes, including a home this spring that recently began construction in St. Petersburg.
Since construction began on the current Raymond James sponsored home in mid-February, company employees have already tallied more than 300 volunteer hours on the build site. On Saturday, March 22, more hours will be accrued when a team of Raymond James employees, including Investment Advisors Division president Bill Van Law, will be painting interior walls at the build site. The home is scheduled for completion by mid-April and will be dedicated in early May.
Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has constructed 294 homes for struggling families in Pinellas County, using locally raised funds. Volunteers and the future homeowners construct the homes, which are sold at no profit and financed with a zero-interest loan.
Habitat Pinellas homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. For Pinellas County, that translates to as little as $22,500 a year for a family of four. Candidates must also demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat Pinellas to invest 250 to 350 sweat equity hours. Mortgage monies are used to build even more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community.
Habitat believes that home ownership contributes to family stability, leading in turn to community stability. Additionally, Habitat Pinellas raises funds through their ReStore, a home improvement outlet where donated household and building items are sold to the public.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, contact (727) 536-4755 or visit www.HabitatPinellas.org.