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The Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita recently named Kathy Gardner as the non-profit's new executive director.

Gardner served as the executive vice president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and over 15 years in higher education administration in Alabama and at Louisiana Delta Community College prior to joining the organization.

“All of us at the Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita see an opportunity for Kathy to have a major influence on the strategic growth and future innovations for our communities,” Ethan Hunt, president of the organization’s board of directors, said. “With Kathy’s vision and under God’s grace, we will broaden our efforts to advocate cost-effective housing for people and families in need of a decent and affordable home.”

Gardner’s hiring comes as Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita begins plans for a new housing project in Lincoln Parish.

“It is an honor and I am very excited to have been selected for this position,” Gardner said. “I look forward with great enthusiasm to continue and build on the amazing work that Habitat does for individuals and families in need of affordable housing in Ouachita and Lincoln parishes. Habitat has been very successful in building homes in our area that give hope, self-reliance and opportunity. It is truly a great Christian mission organization. The volunteer board of directors and staff have done tremendous work and they are a very dedicated team that I am proud to now be a part of.”

As executive director, Gardner plans to work closely with staff and the Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita board of directors to develop strategic plans impacting community relations, program development and the success of the organization’s financial future.

“She has just the right mix of experience and skills,” said Hunt. “When we interviewed with her, she was clearly a devoted Christian, which is important for Habitat, because it is a Christian organization. We hope she can take us to the next level.

According to Hunt, Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita is in the process of merging with Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln. The goal of the newly merged company would be to build one house in Ouachita Parish and one in Lincoln Parish each year, Hunt said.

Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a global non-profit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S., and in more than 70 countries.

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