By DAVID BORAKS
Our Towns Habitat for Humanity will get a new leader Aug. 5 when Paul Robinson Jr. joins the local nonprofit as executive director. And he’ll be coming a long way for the new job: From a nonprofit in Iraq.
Robinson will take over from interim director Enrique Sanchez, who will stay on as associate director. Sanchez has been running the local housing group since February, when longtime leader Terry Laney retired.
Robinson’s resume is long with experience in the nonprofit world, primarily working on micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise financing and sustainability initiatives. He’s currently working in Iraq as executive director of MSME Finance, a micro-finance program of Relief International.
He’s married with two children and will be returning to his home in Charlotte – and his new job – in early August.
Our Towns Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Since its founding, it has provided homes for 241 families in the Lake Norman area, and 2,500 families internationally, mainly through projects in Guatemala and Sri Lanka.
“As we proudly celebrate this upcoming 25th Anniversary, we welcome Paul Robinson to Our Towns and look forward to his leadership in serving more and more families in need of housing solutions in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, and in Guatemala,” Our Towns Habitat chair Paul Latten said in a statement Thursday.
Robinson’s career has taken him to El Salvador, Haiti, Namibia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Jordan and Afghanistan. He also has worked in Latino, Asian and African markets and communities in Charlotte and Atlanta.
“He has a reputation for making an impact on both, organizations and literally thousands of under-served individuals and families. He has successfully developed teams, created financing structures, and significantly grown programs,” Our Towns Habitat said it in its announcement.
Robinson has a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, a master of science in Appropriate Technology/International Development Economics, and has done work toward a PhD in Regional Planning, all at the University of Pennsylvania.
He’s also reported to be a master of languages, picking up Bengali, Spanish, Dari, and Haitian creole.
Paul will work to carry out Our Towns Habitat’s goal of providing families with decent housing and eliminating substandard housing. Habitat officials said he “will be expanding and diversifying housing solutions, increasing partnerships with families, communities, sponsors, and town governments, as well increasing our organizational efficiency and developing our team to be the most highly sought after and talented staff.”As the new assistant director, Sanchez’s duties will continued include managing Our Towns’ Habitat’s 25th anniversary celebration this fall, including a current $50,000 “House that Love Built” fundraising campaign and 25th birthday home build. The project marks the first time that the local chapter has tried to raise money and build a house as its own sponsor, without the help of a major community partner.
“Paul has done a lot of work with nonprofits internationally,” Sanchez said Thursday. “It will be a long transition with me, because I have a lot of experience with Habitat.”
Said Sanchez: “Now I have to get the house built.”
June 21, 2013, “Habitat to mark 25 years with ‘The House That Love Built’”
Feb. 19, 2013, “Laney steps down, Sanchez takes reins at Our Towns Habitat”