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The American Journey through Song


Sunday, July 27th at 7:00 p.m. Grand Rapids United Methodist Church is hosting a summer benefit concert for Itasca County Habitat for Humanity. The music will include works by these American composers: Stephen Foster, Aaron Copland, Cole Porter, Douglas Moore, Jerome Kern, John Jacob Niles, and Celius Doughtery. Local musicians include John Scheuer, Susan Hoolihan, Irene Koski, and friends. A free will offering will be accepted to benefit Itasca County Habitat for Humanity. Refreshments will be served after the concert.

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New Partner Family Selected

IMG_0228My name is Tami Wiltgen. I was born in Grand Rapids, MN, but moved to Arkansas when I was eight years old. I am the mother of  two sons, Travis and Keith and have four grandchildren, who are very special to me.

I moved back to Grand Rapids six years ago due to my dad’s health. I got a job with Cleaning Solutions and have worked there for over five years. I have been in the cleaning business for over 30 years.

I have been renting my whole life. I have been jumping from house to house and it’s time I own my own house.

My boss had told me about Habitat for Humanity. I applied and went through the application process. I had low expectations of actually being selected. One day they called saying they needed more paperwork. When I arrived and walked into the conference room, my friends and family were there to surprise me and tell me I was selected to buy a Habitat for Humanity home. I was shocked. It was the happiest day of my life.

I am so proud to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity family. I have met a lot of wonderful people who have been very nice and helpful. I am ready to participate in the building of other homes as well as mine. I am ready for the journey to begin. I will be working on other Habitat for Humanity Partner Family homes and the ReStore. To see my home be built from start to finish will be an amazing experience. When it’s all done, I will probably break down with happy tears.

Thank you to my friends and Habitat for Humanity for changing my life and making this dream come true.

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Accepting Homeowner Applications

We have opened our homeowner application drive. If you are interested in learning more about the Habitat Homeowner Program, visit our website at or at our Administration Office at 510 SE 11th Street, Grand Rapids, MN.Image

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“There’s No Place Like Home”


In September 2013, Warner Bros. announced a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to launch “There’s No Place Like Home,” a yearlong campaign celebrating the 75th anniversary of the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz”™.

All donations to the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign support Habitat for Humanity’s mission to create housing in partnership with low-income families and are rewarded with Wizard of Oz themed thank-you gifts. The campaign also features local Habitat for Humanity build events around the country. Visit for more information.

Judy Garland and Children’s Discovery Museum Staff will volunteer to help build a Habitat for Humanity home in Itasca County in support of the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign.

Volunteers will work from 9am-4pm Saturday, July 26 on Janelle Flinck’s home, 708 NW 17th Avenue, Grand Rapids.

To donate for this event visit


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Women Build 2014

Women Build, May 14, 2014

{photography by Nathan Bergstedt}






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Cars for Homes

96ded8a061cd32facfeee6225bf226acYour vehicle donation will help Habitat for Humanity build homes in partnership with families in your community.

Car donations are another way to support the mission of Habitat for Humanity.
When you donate a car to Cars for Homes, you will help your local Habitat for Humanity build and rehabilitate houses with families in need of affordable shelter.

The car donation process is quick and easy. It can be accomplished online or with a toll-free phone call to 1-877-277-4344. If you donate an automobile or other vehicle, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.

What Can You Donate?

  • RV
  • Car
  • Truck
  • Boat
  • Motorcycle
  • Construction or farm equipment
  • Any other vehicle ― running or not!

Why donate?

  • Proceeds from the sale of your car help your local Habitat for Humanity build and renovate houses with families in need.
  • You may receive a tax deduction if you itemize.
  • Recycling your car saves energy and natural resources.

How do I start the vehicle donation process?

  • Call Cars for Homes toll-free at 1-877-277-4344 or make your boat, truck, RV or car donation online.
  • You will be asked to provide information about the vehicle you wish to donate, including the make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN) and current mileage.
  • Most vehicles with proper title information are accepted, unless the costs of processing and towing fees exceed the auction value of the vehicle.

What happens after my vehicle is accepted?

  • You will be given instructions for processing the vehicle’s title. If the title cannot be located, assistance is available.
  • Your donated car is then assigned for pickup and sale.
  • Arrangements are then made to have the title processed.
  • You will be contacted to coordinate the vehicle and key pickup by a licensed and insured member of the national network of contractors who work for Advanced Remarketing Services, Habitat for Humanity’s authorized agent.

What happens after my vehicle is picked up?

  • Your vehicle will be sold through a national network of diverse venues on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
  • After the car has been sold, you will receive an acknowledgement letter thanking you for your support and providing the vehicle sale information. This letter may be used as a receipt for tax deduction purposes; additional tax documents will be provided when required by IRS regulations as a result of the sale value of the vehicle.


Cars for Homes: Tax benefits of your car donation

Can I claim my car donation as a tax deduction?
Yes. Habitat for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions, including vehicle donations, may be claimed as deductions on your federal tax return if you itemize on Schedule A of Form 1040.

How much can I deduct?

  • Once Cars for Homes sells your vehicle, the selling price becomes the amount of your donation.
  • If your vehicle sells for more than $500, you may deduct the full selling price.
  • If your vehicle sells for $500 or less, you can deduct the “fair market value” of your vehicle, up to $500.

How do I figure out the “fair market value” of my car?
The following websites can provide this information:

What documentation will I receive for my tax return?
Within 30 days of the sale of your vehicle, Habitat will send you a written acknowledgement/receipt. This receipt will include:

  • The gross selling price of the vehicle (if it sold for greater than $500).
  • Year, make, model and vehicle identification number information.
  • A statement that the vehicle was sold at arms-length between two unrelated parties.
  • A statement that no goods or services were received in return for your contribution.

Cars for Homes: Frequently asked questions

What is Cars for Homes?

  • Habitat for Humanity’s national car donation program.
  • The program is staffed by full-time Habitat for Humanity employees who monitor and manage all activities undertaken by Advanced Remarketing Services, Inc.
  • Proceeds from all sales through Cars for Homes go to your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Who is Advanced Remarketing Services, Inc.?

  • Habitat’s authorized national agent that processes all vehicle donations to Habitat for Humanity.
  • ARS handles title transfer, towing and reporting of all vehicle donations.
  • ARS accepts vehicle donations online through and via their call center at 1-877-277-4344.

How does the Cars for Homes vehicle donation process work?

What kinds of vehicles can be donated?

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Snowmobiles
  • Farm equipment
  • Construction equipment
  • Boats
  • Airplanes

What if the vehicle is not running?

  • Cars for Homes accepts any vehicle as long as it is whole and has four inflated tires (so it can be moved by our towing operators).
  • In rare cases, Cars for Homes may be unable to accept a vehicle if the cost of transport and processing fees would exceed the auction value of the vehicle.

How long will it take to have my vehicle picked up?

  • Donated vehicles are typically picked up within two or three days after the title is received by our processing center.
  • You can speed up the donation process by providing information and downloading documents online.
  • Special arrangements can be made whenever car donations must be made more quickly.

What documents do I need to donate a car?

  • Most states require a clear title to the vehicle, and some states also require a notarized signature or additional forms to complete a vehicle donation.
  • If you cannot locate or have lost the certificate of title, we can help you obtain the proper documentation and forms.

What if the vehicle is not registered in my name?

  • The vehicle does not need to be registered in your name.
  • The name on the title may often differ from the name on the registration documents.
  • Call Cars for Homes at 877-277-4344 for more information.

How do I know my vehicle is in good hands once it’s been picked up?

  • Habitat for Humanity uses a licensed and insured national transportation network and complies with all federal and state regulations.
  • By signing the title directly to Advanced Remarketing Services, you are legally transferring ownership of your vehicle to Habitat for Humanity.
  • When your title is received and your vehicle is picked up, you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.

How much of the money generated by the sale of my car donation goes to Habitat for Humanity?

  • On a monthly basis, Advanced Remarketing Services returns over 80 percent of the gross revenue generated from vehicle sales to Cars for Homes. This percentage is more than any other vehicle processing entity.

What are the tax benefits of donating my car to Habitat for Humanity?

What if I have more questions?

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Mary & Casey Thran: Our Newest Partner Family


Zoey, Mary, Casey and Jade Thran. Itasca County Habitat for Humanity’s newest partner family.

We’re the Thran family. We have two little girls, Zoey, 4, and Jade, 2.

For a long time, we thought we would rent until we were gray and that wasn’t something we wanted for our girls.

Casey and I met in 2008. After almost 6 ½ years together and two beautiful girls, we were in a rut. We didn’t want to rent forever. Our current apartment has accessibility issues that make it hard for my Cerebral Palsy. We felt, when and if we could afford to move, we would. Once Jade was born in 2011, that just wasn’t an option any more. We were stuck. I had stopped working to take care of Zoey and Jade fulltime.

One night, Casey’s mother called and told us about Habitat for Humanity. She told us we had to apply. It was a huge opportunity. We did.

We are proud and very grateful to be partnered with Habitat for Humanity. This is a wonderful new chapter in our lives. We are very excited for this life-changing opportunity to finally be able to provide a better life for ourselves and for our girls.

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Thrivent Financial reaches $200 million in donations to Habitat for Humanity with new 2014 commitment

Itasca County benefits from Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity homebuilding efforts

11. 2014_ThriventBuilds_InfoGraphicGRAND RAPIDS, MN. (Feb. 25, 2014) – For the ninth consecutive year, Thrivent Financial is committing millions to stabilize, strengthen and secure communities in 2014 through its unique partnership called Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans announced that in 2014 it will fund the construction and rehabilitation of 126 Habitat for Humanity homes in 35 U.S. states through a $7.8 million contribution. Additional funds will support the Thrivent Builds Repairs and Thrivent Builds Worldwide programs. From the partnership’s inception in 2005, Thrivent and its members have now committed more than $200 million and more than 4 million volunteer hours.

The partnership consists of three programs with Habitat for Humanity: Thrivent Builds Homes, Thrivent Builds Worldwide and Thrivent Builds Repairs. These programs allow Thrivent to partner with Habitat and families with limited resources in the construction, repair and rehabilitation of affordable housing in communities across the United States and abroad. More than 4,300 homes have been built or repaired with the Thrivent Builds programs since 2005.

For more information about Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Thrivent Builds, visit their website at

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Warner Bros. clicks its heels together with Habitat for Humanity for “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign celebrating the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz”™

419403_320x320Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment Corporate Responsibility team up for yearlong fundraising campaign at

BURBANK, Calif. (Sept. 12, 2013) – Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment Corporate Responsibility announced today a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to launch “There’s No Place Like Home,” a campaign celebrating the 75th anniversary of the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz”™. The yearlong program kicks off today with a digital fundraising campaign and, throughout the year, will feature several themed initiatives and events supporting Habitat for Humanity’s work to create decent, safe and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families.

“Warner Bros. Consumer Products has been fortunate to delight fans of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ through the years with a multitude of products, and our ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ campaign is an extension of our appreciation for this classic film and those who love it,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The initiative will not only drive excitement among the iconic film’s legions of fans, it will help generate important funds for Habitat for Humanity – a fitting partnership as we celebrate this milestone anniversary.”

Ron Sanders, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, said, “Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is proud to be included in this partnership with Habitat for Humanity. We’re hopeful the significant monetary contributions it will generate will lead to the repair and rebuilding of communities worldwide and provide safe and secure places for families to live. What better way to be involved with this worthy organization than to arrange for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and its famous phrase to provide the key sentiment for this terrific campaign.”

“Warner Bros. is committed to making positive contributions to the communities in which we work and live,” said Susan Fleishman, executive vice president, worldwide corporate communications and public affairs, Warner Bros. Entertainment. “As the studio has enjoyed a long partnership with Habitat for Humanity, this serves as an ideal opportunity for us to use the affinity for a classic title like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to create awareness and support for such a worthy cause.”

“Every day, in locations all around the world, we see how having a decent home can change lives and transform communities,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Adequate and affordable housing is foundational, and stable housing is inextricably linked to better health, education and livelihood opportunities. The simple statement is true: There’s no place like home.”

Warner Bros. and Habitat for Humanity will offer a dedicated website and corresponding Facebook application where consumers can support the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign throughout the year. All donations to the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign will support Habitat for Humanity’s mission to create housing in partnership with low-income families. The campaign will also feature local Habitat for Humanity build events around the country, kicking off with a marquee event in the greater Los Angeles area’s city of Long Beach on September 24. The event will be co-sponsored by IMAX and will be supported by the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and Café Press.

Additional Warner Bros. Consumer Products licensing partners supporting the national “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign include Hallmark, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, Workman Publishing, Westland Giftware, Café Press, Trendsetters, Harper Design, Tonner Doll, Thomas Kinkade and Jersey Jack Pinball, who will donate product for the tiered-level reward program. More partners and activities for the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign will be announced in the coming months.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Wizard of Oz” musical, which is currently touring nationwide, is also participating in the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign. Venues in select markets will facilitate donations each time a patron checks into the local theatre on Facebook.

Beginning September 20, “The Wizard of Oz 3D” will be presented in the immersive IMAX® 3D format and return to the big screen for an exclusive one-week engagement in IMAX® theatres across North America. Following the IMAX® theatrical release, on October 1, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release a limited and numbered “The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition,” which will consist of a five-disc set including Blu-ray™3D, Blu-ray™, DVD and UltraViolet™ versions of the film. It is also loaded with exclusive collectible 75th Anniversary memorabilia; a new documentary, “The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; and more than 16 hours of extras. Three more editions will be available separately: a two-disc 3D/Blu-ray, a single-disc Blu-ray and a two-disc DVD. All four will contain the new documentary and extra content. For more information, visit

About Warner Bros. Entertainment

Warner Bros. Entertainment,based entertainment company, is a global leader in the creation, production, distribution, licensing and marketing of all forms of entertainment and their related businesses. A Time Warner Company, Warner Bros. stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry, from feature films to television, home video/DVD, animation, comic books, interactive entertainment and games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 3 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates for fair and just housing policies and provides training and access to resources to help more families improve their shelter conditions. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To get more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit

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