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Women Build projects reach new heights for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley

Women Build projects reach new heights for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley

Alison Victoria Involved with Habitat for Humanity and its Women Build projects.

While she grew up on the 46th floor of the John Hancock Center in Chicago, HGTV designer and host Alison Victoria loves being on the ground floor with Habitat for Humanity and its Women Build projects.

“I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing mission,” says the popular host of the “Windy City Rehab” television show. “I love Habitat for Humanity and I love what they’re about, and I’m so thrilled to be involved with the Women Build organization. They focus on women being strong, capable, wanting to help each other and wanting to see others succeed, and that’s what I’m all about.”

It’s a sentiment and belief that’s wildly shared, and this year supporters of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley are stepping up in a big way to form 23 teams that are taking part in Women Build now to June 3 to assist with building three homes (two in Elgin and one in Carpentersville) for qualified families.

Each 10-member team is raising funds and donating a day’s labor at one of the build sites, which will be managed by Habitat NFV’s staff and select volunteers. Habitat for Humanity NFV, with help from the Women Build volunteers, hopes to meet its fundraising goal of $75,000, which is a significant boost from $55,000 raised by 13 teams in 2022.

“A safe, affordable home creates transformational advancements for women and their families,” said Barbara Beckman, executive

director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, the Elgin-based nonprofit that builds about 10-12 homes each year with a valuable network of sponsors, donors and volunteers, as well as dedicated staff members.

“Our Women Build Committee is comprised of women making immense contributions every day in their communities and in many fields, including education, banking, and real estate,” Beckman added. “This year’s event has grown tremendously because of their efforts. There is no greater force than women coming together to support each other.”

On April 20, Alison Victoria joined 2023 Women Build co-chairs Elizabeth Hobson and Kathy Festen and others at Habitat’s office in Elgin to kick off their mission to help build three homes for deserving families.

Hobson, who serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity Northern Fox Valley, volunteered to serve as co-chair for the second year in a row.

“I love the idea of women helping women in the community. We have an opportunity to lift up and empower women in a very tangible way,” says Hobson, who is the dean of adult education at Elgin Community College, and knows a lot about teamwork and building a strong foundation.

Festen, who is a real estate agent for Baird & Warner, knows how difficult it can be for families to secure housing. She led a Women Build team last year and returned this year as co-chair to get others involved and build on the initiative’s success.

“I am a firm believer that housing stability should be available for all. This event opens the door for so many families and helps to provide strength, stability, and independence through housing,” Festen says.

Joining them on the Women Build committee are movers and shakers from several industries and communities: Joanne Ivory, Stephanie Zutter, Victoria Vlazney, Nausheen Ali, Deonna Leali, and Mary Kay Prusnick.

This first Women’s Build project of Habitat for Humanity NFV was an entire house in Elgin that was started in 2011 and finished in 2012. From 2016-19, the event was changed to a weeklong Women’s Build format. When COVID hit in 2020 and 2021, the team shifted to DIY kits to spur fundraising and provide a bond with volunteers.

Last year, Habitat NFV reopened its build sites to Women Build, and this year’s program is back with more crews and a monthlong build.

For more information on Women Build or to donate to Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley, visit , or contact donor relations specialist Dina Ackerman by email at

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