In a time of great uncertainty and change, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota sought to plan the unplannable and took on a deep and thorough strategic planning process. The effort involved staff, board, and leaders of the Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota Habitat affiliates which Habitat Minnesota serves.
“We spoke to all the affiliates and learned how unique each affiliate is. They all have different strengths, needs, priorities, challenges and styles. We worked really hard to balance everything in the plan,” said Bret Busse, board vice-chair and leader of the strategic planning committee.
Habitat Minnesota was created in 1997 by the Minnesota Habitat affiliates, initially as a financial intermediary, providing centralized distribution of capital to affiliates. Today, Habitat Minnesota offers a range of programs, including resource development, advocacy, training, and networking. Over the last 24 years, Habitat Minnesota has evolved its programs and services to meet the ever-changing needs of the Minnesota affiliates and to improve affordable homeownership in the state of Minnesota.
“Habitat Minnesota was founded and created to support the work of Habitat affiliates in our state and to increase affordable homeownership opportunities statewide. I’m excited for a strategic plan that was created in this foundational approach to our work and I look forward to seeing an increase in production statewide,” said President and CEO Cristen Incitti.
In January 2020, newly hired Cristen Incitti convened the Habitat Minnesota board of directors to begin the strategic planning process. A strategic planning committee was created, made up of six board members. New board members, along with interim staff member Dawn Hill, interviewed 19 Minnesota affiliates, as well as four in South Dakota, two in North Dakota, and two in Wisconsin, to obtain a full and regional picture of Habitat affiliate needs.
This process allowed new board members and affiliate leaders to get to know one another. It also gave board members a greater understanding of the unique challenges each affiliate faces based on staff size, geographic area, and many other factors.
Kevin Pelkey, Lakes Area Habitat Executive Director and a member of Habitat Minnesota’s board and strategic planning committee, was pleased with the comprehensive affiliate interview process. Said Pelkey, it’s “important to take time—every year—to engage [the Habitat Minnesota] board in learning just how affiliates operate and just how different every affiliate is.”