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Kahya Fox

Kahya Fox is executive director for Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area.

After two months of securing donations from more than five dozen businesses, organizations and individuals, Habitat for Humanity has kicked off the second, public phase of its All Hands In Campaign, inviting community members to contribute to the cause with a matching fund incentive.

The landmark $1.6 million capital campaign, led by Habitat for Humanity La Crosse executive director Kahya Fox, along with former Habitat board members the Rev. Kent Johnson and Brad Sturm, launched with a silent fundraising phase in August and has secured $900,000, with $35,000 raised during an Oct. 25 Home Cookin’ for Habitat event held at Colgan Air Services.

Now through Nov. 26, all community donations will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $300,000, through the financial support of John and Linda Lyche, John and Donna Hansen, and an anonymous donor, all of whom embraced the campaign in its early stages.

“I think it will absolutely help move us towards success,” Fox said of the matching funds. “It’s a great motivator for people to donate.”

Funds will be funneled into four projects, with $700,000 to be allocated toward paying off the mortgage on the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, allowing mortgage fees to go toward home-building projects.

A $600,000 portion will be used for construction of new homes in La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau and Houston counties. Currently, one to two homes are built annually, for which the occupant pays taxes and insurances but no mortgage.

Through All Hands In, the number of homes would increase to six a year by 2020, allowing the organization to meet the demand of the 15 families who have applied for a Habitat home, and the 100 qualified families on the waiting list.

The ReClaim program, which salvages useable materials from demolished dwellings, in turn sold at the ReStore, will receive $200,000 through the campaign in an effort to increase rescued materials from nine tens annually to 20.

The remaining $100,000 in funds will be dedicated to the Critical Home Repair Program, devoted to helping homeowners make necessary repairs. The campaign would allow Habitat to provide the service to an additional 20 homes annually, as well as aiding the ReNew Neighborhood Revitalization program in its efforts to assist with improvements to 65 homes per year, up from the current 30.

The All Hands In Campaign closes Dec. 1, and Fox says progress is “way better than expected.”

“You go into it with some trepidation — this is our first capital campaign we’ve ever done — but it’s amazing how supportive, how responsive the community has been,” Fox said. “It’s just been overwhelming. To know as an organization so many people support us is just so heartening.”

To donate to the All Hands In Campaign, visit www.habitatlacrosse.org or call Kahya Fox at 608-797-8086. Donations received prior to Nov. 26 will be matched in kind.

Habitat’s landmark $1.6 million capital campaign has secured $900,000 through October.

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Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers human interest stories, local events and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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