Before her passing in 2021, it was rare to find Ellen Hill idle. Her stepsister, Penny, remembers that Ellen would show up to even a casual visit with her tool belt, an apron, a broom and dustpan – always ready to be pressed into service. “Her time in this world,” Penny says, “was for service.” And her sense of service was kinetic, hands busy packing survival kits for the unhoused, painting fresh lines in the church parking lot, cleaning up garbage along local creeks.

Ellen Hill - Blog Feature -  750x510px  2For us at Habitat, nowhere was this more evident than on the construction site, where she was a steadfast volunteer with a wry sense of humor and an eagerness to do whatever the job called for. The construction staff adored Ellen and – whether it was a Monday spent organizing the tool container or the day she quietly gave a $100,000 gift to keep a development on track – she always helped us build more.

Ellen’s legacy of generosity continues with the donation of her home to Habitat  – whose $1.4 million in sale proceeds will be invested in homes and opportunities for many more people.

Her possessions were left to her family, but Penny knew that these, too, could do good in the world. “I was absolutely overwhelmed,” Penny remembers, trying to manage her grief along with the disposition of Ellen’s belongings. She decided instead to donate the belongings in the home, and when Habitat took over the process, she says, “It was a huge relief... I know she would be thrilled.”Ellen Hill - Blog Feature -  750x510px  3-1

Habitat managed the process of clearing Ellen’s home from start to finish, with a mindfulness that evoked Ellen’s days of sorting tools on site. Her furniture went to ReStore, where proceeds will contribute thousands to fund our continuing work. Her tools will be put to use on the sites where she loved to give her time. We connected with other organizations close to Ellen’s heart so their missions could benefit as well.

“Ellen made a profound difference at Habitat during her lifetime,” said Janice Jensen, President & CEO. “We are grateful to honor her amazing commitment to service, and to be entrusted with perpetuating her incredible legacy.”

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