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Jim Murphy Lays The Groundwork For A New Long-Term Strategy

Jim Murphy believes that all he did before joining Honolulu Habitat for Humanity in 2014 is what lead him to the position of executive director.

“My No. 1 duty is to serve and promote the mission of this organization — doing this work, in this place, with the people who are here, has been a fantastic experience, and I’m loving every minute of it,” he told Pacific Business News.

Murphy, who was born and reared in Chicago, had only been in Hawaii for a year when he was offered the job, and he immediately set out to locate the proper individuals to surround himself with.

“Suddenly, the proverb ‘be careful what you wish for’ became my reality, and I made a lot of mistakes; I still make them, but not as frequently.” “Having a good team is a big part of finding success,” he stated.

Honolulu Habitat, which employs 12 people and has a board of nine members, has the expertise and experience, according to Murphy, to be representative of the communities it serves and to have a shared vision.

He added that when the Covid-19 outbreak broke out, the group was in the process of building two houses and had no choice but to keep going. Even with permission to finish the job, volunteers and contractors were unable to gather in substantial numbers due to state and county constraints.

“We enlisted as many volunteers as possible and completed the houses, but it was an eye opener.” “Since then, our answer has been to increase our effect,” Murphy added.

Murphy characterized the nonprofit’s five-year strategy plan as “the most thorough commitment to our objective in our 30-plus year history.” Our strategy is bold, ambitious, and forward-thinking. It’s also on time.” The goal is to provide affordable housing to 250 people, more than increasing the number of families supported each year.

“We are in the business of inexpensive house ownership, an underestimated component of the affordable housing discussion in Hawaii,” he explained. “It’s a complicated problem that necessitates collaboration and innovation from many sectors.” We are convinced that this plan is exactly what our organization requires.”

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp. are two current partners.

Honolulu Habitat, one of the state’s five Habitat for Humanity affiliates, is part of Habitat for Humanity International’s statewide network of over 1,100 affiliates. Habitat’s model, according to Murphy, empowers local affiliates to take charge on their own. “What is given here stays here.” Similarly, this strategic plan was created by Honolulu residents who live, work, and serve.”

What are the current projects you’re working on?

We started our Wahine Build program this month with ten build days; we now have four houses under construction and are preparing 13 families, despite the fact that the strategic plan is just two months old. We’re attempting to make as many individuals aware of the plan, read it, and locate themselves inside it as feasible.

How does Honolulu Habitat intend to address Hawaii’s greater affordable housing crisis?

Affordable housing is a broad topic that encompasses a variety of issues.

After asking the community what they needed over eight months, we came up with this strategy. Starting with a blank page, our team and board held multiple strategy workshops to determine how to address those requirements, set stress goals, better serve the mission, and identify where we are currently in order to succeed moving ahead.

Covid showed us how to share and communicate in new ways. We can create more effectively, manage the business better, and decrease expenses by finding ways to share information with each other both inside and outside.

What financial impact did the Covid-19 pandemic have on the nonprofit?

Grant-writing, peer-to-peer, and in-kind gifts are just a few of the strategies we’ll use to expand annual fundraising to $1.5 million, which will enable us develop our construction fund to cover escalating construction expenses.

Materials are expensive, and we sometimes have to wait longer these days, but we know we’re in the same queue as everyone else.

We weren’t alone in our financial struggles: at the outset of Covid, we closed our ReStore and furloughed employees, as did other groups.

DIY initiatives boosted purchasing and donation activity, allowing the ReStore to reopen safely soon after the initial shock. To support operations and increase to 2,000 volunteers annually, we want to treble the ReStore’s revenue.

What methods do you use to recruit volunteers?

Volunteering is encouraged here; it’s part of the culture.

As a result, we’ve developed memorable experiences for them. The beauty of this project is that volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, from big enterprise to military to community groups. The more houses you create, the more volunteers will naturally come in.

You can come to a construction site with no prior experience and we will assist you in learning the skills necessary for that day, as well as keeping the site safe, comfortable, and engaging in a fun way. We’ve been using social media to spread the news about the builds and inviting [regular] volunteers.

What about working in Hawaii’s nonprofit sector has shocked you the most?

The partnership among Hawaii’s charity sector comes from genuine support, which was a pleasant surprise.

We’re sometimes placed against one other – looking for the same funding, sponsors, and volunteers – which may create a competitive environment, but Hawaii is far more collaborative than other locations I’ve been, and it’s been a breath of fresh air.

Everyone is working hard, yet we’re eager to communicate with one another. We’re not fighting this battle alone.

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