Thirty-four CEOs have pledged company support, staff volunteers and personal involvement to construct two homes for families on Douthit Street in Greenville.
Retired Michelin North America executive Dick Wilkerson, the 2020 CEO Build chairman, said it’s easy to see the social benefits of the Habitat for Humanity program and its methods for getting commitment and investment from potential homeowners. But he also said the program is good for the business community and local economic health.
“If you look at the evolution of the workforce and you look at the evolution of our community, specifically Greenville and Greenville County, you know that we need to have a prepared workforce and if you’re willing to invest for the future, then you invest now for children who are coming along,” said Wilkerson, who retired as president and chairman of Michelin North America. “From a business standpoint, it’s responsible citizenship to invest in a way that there’s a return on the investment. And one of the best ways I’ve seen in person is investing in Habitat because what happens is it creates citizens who pay taxes, it creates children who are educated to become the workforce of the future, it reduces the need for community support for people who are in difficult circumstances. It’s better than paying taxes, frankly.”
This year’s build will begin in earnest with a wall-raising ceremony at 8 a.m. March 12 on Douthit Street for the families of Tiffany Copeland and Shaquala Foster.
Habitat Greenville built one house a year for the first six years under the CEO Build initiative, but this is the second year in a row in which volunteers will build two homes, according to Monroe Free, president and CEO of the Greenville County organization. The CEOs who signed on committed to work on-site personally during construction alongside their own team members, community volunteers and future Habitat families.