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Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 6 months ago

Homebuilder launches foundation to address affordable housing issue

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Michael Diamond and his team see the challenges of the issue everyday.
by: Michael Diamond

Diamond Custom Homes has generously supported charitable organizations throughout its history. However, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we believed we could do more.

Two years ago, we established the Building Dreams Foundation to support local charities that improve the lives of Southwest Florida’s underprivileged families through affordable housing and education. Forming our own foundation and implementing a fundraising plan allows us to target and increase our giving, and ultimately make a bigger difference.

We celebrated the foundation’s launch with an event at my family’s personal residence, raising $25,000 and creating what became one of our last normal pre-pandemic memories.

Courtesy. Michael Diamond.

Habitat for Humanity was an important organization for my father. He was instrumental in forming the Lee County chapter, and served as its president for several years. He organized many build days, helped raise significant funds and proudly led in 1995 as the chapter built its 100th home. The expanded organization, now known as Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, has currently built more than 1,750 homes.

Read more about affordable housing in the region.

There is a tremendous need for affordable housing in Naples and Collier County, and today it is more visible than ever. Multiple industries in our area, including construction, education, health care, homebuilding and hospitality all employ numerous workers. The fact that people who work here cannot afford to live here is a problem.

By increasing home ownership, we can put a big dent in the cycle of homelessness, crime and poverty. Habitat for Humanity prides itself on offering a hand up instead of a handout. Its stringent application process, interest-free loans and sweat equity requirements help people who demonstrate willingness to help themselves.

The $50,000 raised by the Building Dreams Foundation (including Diamond Custom Homes’ own $25,000 match) provided the necessary funds to supply the building material to construct a home for a young family in Vincent’s Acres, which is Habitat for Humanity of Collier County’s 11th Naples development.

Just last month, more than 30 of our employees and family members participated in a two-day home building event supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, while working together and creating new memories as a team. And this year the Building Dreams Foundation will strive to raise $75,000 in donations through events, including a spring golf tournament.  

I am proud to lead by my father’s example in support of such an important cause. While there is no one answer to Southwest Florida’s affordable housing issue, Diamond Custom Homes, its employees and the Building Dreams Foundation will certainly continue to be part of the solution.

Michael Diamond founded Naples-based Diamond Custom Homes in 2010.

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