Part Two: Meaningful Community Partnerships
Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity largely depends on private donations to work towards our mission of Building Homes, Community and Hope. In the past thirty years we have been the beneficiaries of generous donations, memorable fundraisers, and support from community partners.
Perhaps the single most intriguing fundraiser in Rose Rock Habitat’s history is Oklahoma Rising. Oklahoma Rising was a two-disc CD set released September 2007 in Oklahoma City Metro 7-11 stores and Arvest bank branches. The album featured 46 tracks from music artists with roots in Oklahoma, from classic country artists like Gene Autry, to experimental rock artists The Flaming Lips. Net proceeds from this star-studded music collection were donated to Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity Affiliates. Note: You can still find the Oklahoma Rising compact disc collection at some online music retailers.
A pair of donations notable for both the reason they were given, as well as their respective dollar amounts were donations from Habitat for Humanity International, and America Online, who donated $1.5 million and $1 million in matching funds respectively. This infusion of funds allowed for (then) Norman Habitat for Humanity to contribute to Moore’s recovery, playing a critical part in the building of thirteen new homes and, in turn, prompted Norman Habitat for Humanity’s name change to Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity.
The University of Oklahoma’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity has been a stalwart supporter of our mission since the start. They formed the same year as this affiliate, and they consistently increased awareness and raised funds for the mission of Habitat for Humanity. In 2013 the OU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity created Build-a-Thon, which was a fundraiser that had student organizations at OU compete at building structures out of boxes. Guests at the event would donate to the student organizations they thought made the best box building, and the proceeds went to (then) Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity. The OU campus chapter also hosted the Hustle for Habitat 5k in 2013, and continued to support events both on and off campus for Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity until the campus chapter became inactive during the most turbulent time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity has yet to work with an active campus chapter under its current name, and the staff is working to reestablish the campus chapter as soon as possible.
Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity took part in the Habitat for Humanity Women Build program in 2006. Women Build, started by Habitat for Humanity International in 1991, is Habitat’s response to the unique housing challenges women can often face and serves as a way women can begin volunteering in construction—an industry that is largely dominated by men. The first Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity Women Build home was finished at the start of 2007; by the end of that year, the Women Build program had started on its third home.
On March 9, 2013, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity, in tandem with University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, broke ground on Habitat’s first sustainably built home. The home was designed to be built with compressed earth blocks. Compressed earth blocks, or CEBs, are unfired blocks made of compressed dirt and clay, often locally sourced. Compressed earth block homes are resistant to fire, insects, and lack many of the toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of traditional brick and
mortar. More recently, Rose Rock Habitat began construction on another innovative home construction project, in partnership with FOX Blocks, using insulated concrete forms (ICF) to build a more sustainable, energy efficient and enduring family home.
Another great new partnership, formed in 2022, Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity teamed up with Coach Venables’s OU S.O.U.L. Mission. S.O.U.L. Mission is a program designed to develop OU football team members off the field, enriching their lives by encouraging further academic, personal, and spiritual development. The OU Sooners football team came to Rose Rock Habitat with the desire to engage with the local community, and our coordinators helped organize a citywide event incorporating 7 additional nonprofit organizations in October of last year.
Finally, starting in 2022, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity started the annual Common Grounds Coffee Festival. Common Grounds Coffee Festival is a celebration of local roasters, brewers, bakers, confectioners, artists, and the fuel that powers them all: coffee! Patrons of the festival pay a small fee to enter, and are met with music, art, activities, and loads of free samples, as well as vendors selling coffee-compatible goods and services. The first Common Grounds Coffee Festival was attended by over one thousand people, and the second Common Grounds saw a nearly 60 percent increase in attendance.
Rose Rock Habitat is always looking for more community partners to better help anyone in RRHFH’s Service area who needs it. Other notable community partners have included Thrivent, Oklahoma Natural Gas, Tinker Federal Credit Union, Methodist Men (of McFarlin United Methodist Church), and many more local organizations, companies, and construction trade professionals. If you’re interested in becoming a community partner of Rose Rock Habitat for Humanity, please contact Elle at [email protected] or 405-366-2813.