Habitat CEO Childress retiring after 15 years leading agency

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Habitat for Humanity CEO Rachel Smith Childress announced plans to retire at the end of 2021 after 15 years with the organization.

“We are exceptionally grateful for Rachel’s years of leadership and commitment to Lexington Habitat’s mission,” said Parashar Joshi, Chair of the Lexington Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. “With a big heart, bright mind and bold vision she leaves a remarkable legacy of service.”

During her time as CEO, Childress led Lexington Habitat through changes in the housing industry and substantial program expansion, implementing numerous initiatives that will leave a lasting positive impact on the community.

One of the most notable expansions was the founding of Love Your Neighborhood, Lexington Habitat’s home repair program that helps low-income homeowners stabilize their homes while preserving Lexington’s affordable housing stock.

More than half of the organization’s total beneficiaries have been served with Childress at the helm, including 205 families who have achieved homeownership and 108 households who have received critical home repairs.

Under her leadership, Lexington Habitat has grown to employ 40 people with a budget of $4 million.

The organization has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky and has also been consistently recognized for excellence in sustainability, boasting the title of the sole builder in Lexington recognized as building 100% Energy Star Certified Homes.

She also has led Lexington Habitat’s outreach efforts, shining a light on issues related to
affordable housing. Most recently, Childress served on the Housing & Gentrification sub-committee of the Commission for Racial Justice & Equality and The Task Force on Neighborhoods in Transition.

“Serving the mission of Lexington Habitat for Humanity has been the honor of a lifetime. “ Childress said. “Our organization is in a good place, well positioned for an even brighter future. The Lexington Habitat staff and board members are talented and dedicated to the mission. I am confident they will continue to grow this organization and improve the lives of the people we serve.”

Lexington Habitat will soon launch a search for Rachel’s successor.

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