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An unexpected donor.

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

In 2020, a new monthly donation for Lakeshore Habitat stood out to me – because it was coming from someone who lived in Texas.

This peaked my curiosity. Why would someone in Texas be supporting a nonprofit in Holland, Michigan? There are thousands of Habitat affiliates across the country, so why us? I honestly thought it was a mistake.

So, I reached out and asked this individual if we could set up a time to connect – and he agreed. But I was not prepared for what he was going to share when I called him.

He shared stories of being a kid in Holland and how his mom, dad and two brothers moved frequently, not having a clean or safe place to live. He shared how his parents lived paycheck to paycheck and how life was a struggle.

He also shared memories of spending his weekends working on building his home, alongside his family and members of the community- moving dirt and hammering nails. And how that home on 15th street provided a foundation that allowed them to move upward instead of barely hanging on. He shared how members of the community mentored his parents and helped them obtain better jobs and get connected in the community.

He shared how years later his parents paid off their mortgage, retired and eventually moved to Texas. One brother graduated from Bucknell University and received his Masters from the University of Texas, now working as an Internal Auditor. The other brother graduating from Grand Valley State University and received a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, now working as a contract attorney in Arlington, Virginia. And how he graduated from the University of North Texas and is now a data engineer.

This monthly donor’s name is Gabe and his family was blessed with the second Habitat home built by Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity.

Recently I heard this quote:

“Changing the adult’s life changes the children’s life and changing the children’s life changes the future.”

Gabe is helping to change the future by paying it forward. He shares,

“I give monthly because I understand firsthand the lifelong impact that Lakeshore Habitat can have on a family. They provided my parents, my brothers, and my 8-year-old self not just with safe, affordable housing but also a welcoming community and stable home for my family to grow and progress. As a monthly donor, I am able to give back and provide others the same opportunities that changed my life.

When I see pictures of a family with their new home from Lakeshore Habitat, I see the direct impact of my regular donations and the life-changing effects they will have. I continue to donate monthly because the need for Habitat is as important as ever. Unfortunately, affordable housing remains a significant obstacle for many families. I know that my regular donation will help Habitat plan for future projects and change the lives of more families.”

Do you want to join Gabe as monthly donor?

Check out The Neighborhood – any monthly dollar amount is appreciated as we continue to build up our community – for kids, for futures, for generations to come.

To become a monthly donor, visit

Written by Dave Rozman, Development Director

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