Women Build 2017: Raising walls, Breaking Barriers


What happens when 300 formidable women come together in a celebration of strength and support for a fellow woman and her family? An amazing thing called Habitat Chicago Women Build 2017, that’s what! After much deliberation, we have given our best go at capturing the wonder of Women Build in this Top Ten Countdown.


For the last four months, these 300 women have been fundraising hard to cover the total cost of construction of the Duke family home. October 3rd – 7th they hit the build site to begin building Darlene’s home right alongside her and what a week it was! Here are just 10 of the top moments. 


10. Chick-fil-A State and Lake keeping our builders fueled in the most delicious of ways, donating lunch all five days of Women Build. ‘Eat more chikin’ we did…


9. Witnessing the year-long planning and preparation efforts of our Women Build volunteer committee come to full, forceful fruition. These dynamic gals secured countless donations, organized our kickoff event, and made sure the week was a smooth, successful celebration of Darlene. 


8. Exelon/ ComEd coming in clutch to generously sponsor Women Build – and in high-fashion nonetheless, donning matching hard hats, gloves, glasses, and more. Fun fact: Exelon is also the full-home sponsor of Shuanta Sampson’s Habitat Chicago home which is being dedicated at the end of this month. Another fun fact: Shuanta is Darlene Duke’s daughter! 


7. The willingness of our Women Builders to fully embrace hydration - determinedly building through downpours and joyfully throwing back shots of Gatorade to keep their energy high. 


6. Seeing the neighborly bonds of Habitat Chicago homebuyers in action. Just as Darlene did for last year’s Women Build homebuyer, Catherine, four current Habitat homebuyers came out to build Darlene Duke’s home throughout the week.


5. After having her crown stolen in 2016, veteran Women Builder Tammy Kelly regained her position as top fundraiser. Bringing in $3,205 this year, Tammy reminds us of the difference one person can make in the life of another. 


4. The heart-beat-raising, nail-biting battle to be the Top Women Build fundraising team. After infinite lead changes, the 12 women of Spark Foundry finally sealed the deal with a staggering $17,960.00 raised! 


3. Exceeding our $150,000, full home sponsorship goal for the first time in Habitat Chicago Women Build history. This one just speaks for itself, now doesn’t it?


2. The unbelievable construction progress that took place in just five days. From framing to painting to installing tile, flooring, & scaffolding, 300 women helped Darlene make significant strides on her journey to homeownership.  


1. The pure pride that emanated from Darlene Duke as she raised the first floor walls of her very own home. Five demanding days of building and years of overcoming unjust hurdles, to see her family be healthy, happy, and strong – we could not admire this woman more. 


Miss out on Women Build this year and bummed out about it? Don’t worry – we’ll be back next. Email events@habitatchicago.org to learn more and get added to our Women Build interest list. 

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest news and opportunities to get involved!