Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity
A Hand Up, Not a Hand-Out: The Road to Eliminating Poverty Housing
March 05, 2009
After graduating from the University of Western Ontario - Huron College (London) and Seneca College (Toronto), Neil volunteered with Habitat for Humanity International, building homes in Hungary, Poland and Uganda. It was there that Neil first saw the dramatic difference that a simple, decent Habitat home could make in the life of a family and a community. Upon his return, Neil began his career in project management at Tridel Construction, Canada's largest condominium developer. Neil continued to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity locally, both in fundraising and by putting his construction skills to work on site.
In September 2000, Neil made a radical career change by joining Habitat for Humanity Toronto. Neil is the youngest CEO of a Habitat affiliate in the world. He continues an impressive family heritage of philanthropic work, notably exemplified by his late maternal grandfather, General Arnold Brown, the past international leader of The Salvation Army.
Since 2000, Habitat for Humanity Toronto has accelerated its building program from an average of ½ a house per year to 55 under construction in 2007. The Habitat ReStore operations have also expanded with the addition of a third store in August 2007. Revenues from the ReStore operations have grown from $250,000 in 2000 to over $1.5 million in 2006.
Today, Neil continues to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity internationally, and has worked on projects in Ghana, Mexico, Louisiana (Hurricane Katrina rebuilding), El Salvador, and on Jimmy Carter Work Projects in Georgia, South Korea, and most recently India.
Neil is the recipient of many awards and honours for his contribution to the community. He is the recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award (2006), the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, The Georgian Alumnus Award of Distinction from Royal Saint George’s College and The Distinguished Alumni Award from Seneca College.
Neil currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Grace Hospital and Camp Kwasind. He is also an active volunteer at Out of the Cold, the Ontario Prayer Breakfast, is a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto and a Deacon at Yorkminster Park.