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Habitat for Humanity adds CFO after rapid growth

Margie Manning

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Pamela Lee

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has hit a milestone.

The nonprofit organization, which provides innovative and affordable housing to qualified families, has grown large enough to hire a dedicated chief financial officer.

Pamela Lee started work Monday as CFO. She previously was director of finance and administration at FASTer Way to Fat Loss, based in Largo.

Habitat has grown rapidly since Mike Sutton joined as president and CEO nearly seven years ago.

There were 19 employees when Sutton joined and Habitat had about $5 million in annual revenue. Today there are 66 employees and close to $19 million in revenue.

The organization built about 20 homes a year in 2014. It has completed 61 new homes this year, and recently was recognized as the second largest Habitat affiliate in the country based on new home builds out of the 1,049 affiliate network.

The Pinellas organization merged with the West Pasco affiliate of Habitat in 2019. It built one home in Pasco County in 2019 and a dozen homes there this year.

“The board of directors has been focused on growth and how we can serve more families. That drives our decisions in pretty much everything we do,” Sutton said.

As Habitat builds externally, it also is building infrastructure internally, he said.

Mike Sutton

“When Covid hit, we made the decision to stay flat in terms of the number of homes we would build so we could spend time building our staff and the infrastructure, with training and education. Pamela’s job is one job that has come out of that,” Sutton said.

Habitat also plans to hire for a couple of new construction positions in the next couple of months. It will open a third location for its ReStore, a location to donate and purchase home improvement items, after the first of the year. The new site will be in Palm Harbor, joining ReStores in Clearwater and New Port Richey.

“As we’ve built more homes, served more families and grown our footprint, we have to continue to bring on talent that will help our  organization continue on the path to success,” Sutton said.

At her previous post at FASTer Way to Fat Loss, Lee developed tools to track key metrics, budgeting and forecasting financial results, led conversion of cash to accrual accounting and implementation of financial software across all company platforms, while also overseeing human resources in a company that grew from five employees to 30 over the last two years.

Lee also worked in the nonprofit sector for the Illinois State Dental Society and as an accountant for a public accounting firm. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.

Nancy Ridenour, who had been doing double duty handling both financial and business strategy at Habitat, now will focus solely on strategy as chief strategy officer.

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