Sustainable Neighborhoods for Wellbeing and Happiness with Habitat for Humanity

Jenny and Bob walk alongside Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona, Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat para la Humanidad Guatemala, the City of Tempe, Arizona State University,  New Course, and Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, (with supportive experts from the Clinton Global Initiative America) as together we help to build sustainable and affordable homes for the Least Among Us.

2016 CGI America Announcement Sustainable Neighborhoods for WellBeing and Happiness cgia_commitmentseal The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes leaders to turn ideas into action. CGI Commitments to Action represent bold new ways that CGI members address global challenges—implemented through new methods of partnership and designed to maximize impact. Commitments can be small or large, global or local. No matter the size or scope, commitments help CGI members translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results.

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The Ramsey Foundation’s first keystone sustainable build was in Glendale, Arizona. With 100  volunteers, we constructed the first LEED Platinum Certified Sustainable affordable home in the nation.  

An affordable mortgage,” offered Jenny Norton, “should be accompanied by an affordable utility bill, along with a heart to heal our Mother Earth.”

To learn more we welcome you to see Glendale’s Home Green Home, the video that also won the 2009 Rocky Mountain Emmy Award, and to read the following article: https://www.glendaleaz.com/greenhouse/ Since then, with Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona, we have built a NetZero home and one hundred other completely green homes that are affordable, including three in our home town, Tempe. Jenny and Bob also walk alongside Habitat for Humanity, International to provide clean water and shelter in our nations of need, particularly assist in alleviating poverty in rural areas of Haiti and Guatemala: We welcome you to look here: Haiti, and Building a Decent Place for Children, and to read more about our Neighborhoods mission, (Seeds of Hope), in beautiful Guatemala below. (Also, please see Bob raising another new wall in the photo to the right): A continuing recent project was in Tempe, our hometown, with our Wall-raising on January 5th, 2013 and the Dedication on June 1st, as we built the first LEED Platinum level sustainable and affordable home in Tempe, partnering with 500 volunteers from the Tempe Community Action Agency.

Mayor Mark Mitchell and Vice Mayor Corey Woods were our guests of honor.

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Pictured above, we were very honored to be included in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Award Presentation for Honoree Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona (for our three Tempe Sustainable Affordable homes).  Here are Ramsey Social Justice Foundation’s Bob Ramsey, with Habitat Board Member Kathleen Pechman, Habitat Director of Construction Paul Murphy, Habitat President Jason Barlow, Ramsey Foundation’s Gina Inorio, and Habitat Board Member Michael O’Connor.


Overseeing our vision and action are the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation’s Social Justice Minister, Jenny, RSJF’s Community Liaison Director Bill Epps, RSJF’s Chief of Staff Gina Inorio, RSJF’s Neighborhoods Project Product Coordinator Jake Ireland, RSJF’s Media Specialist Denise Rentschler, Website Artiste Robin Manelis; with overall coordination from our Tempe Neighborhoods Program Manager, Shauna Warner, New Course CEO Dr. Jamie Bechtel, Esq., Chief Program Officer Karl Morrison.

We are honored to include the partnerships of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona’s President Jason Barlow, Development Officers Roger Neuhaus and Liz Pabst-Wanless, Neighborhoods Experts Maribel Saucedo and Gabriel Jaramillo, Marketing Director Dusty Parsons; Habitat para la Humanidad of Guatemala’s Director Victor Velasquez and Development Director Steven J. Cook; with leadership by the City of Tempe’s Mayor Honorable Mark Mitchell, Council Member Honorable Lauren Kuby, retired Council Member Honorable Corey Woods and Council Member Honorable Kolby Granville, as well as City Staff members Public Information Officer Denise Rentschler, Tempe Neighborhoods Director Shauna Warner, Naomi Farrell and Larry Schmalz; with expertise from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability Development Director Connie Eggert, Executive Director Patricia Reiter, Assistant Professor Dr. Scott Cloutier, Engagement Manager Mara DeFilippis, MSUS Candidate Andres Gonzales, Sustainable Practices Director Mick Dalrymple, Media experts Christine Rose Weir and Jason Franz; with Wellbeing guidance and oversight from Green & Healthy Homes Initiative President Ruth Ann Norton, including service guidance and volunteer participation partnership via former Executive Director Bill Epps with our Tempe Community Action Agency.

We all partner together for our 2016 through 2019 vision to certify sustainable our Tempe neighborhoods, Victory Acres and Escalante, as well as rural Guatemala neighborhoods Santo Domingo Xenacoj, Milpas Altas, and Santa Lucia.  As Tempe Community Action Agency Executive Director Deborah Arteaga has expressed, “in partnership with The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, we can work together to transform the community while respecting its existing fabric!”

Our project, of scaling up our mission of building more than 100 sustainable affordable homes to building, globally, sustainable neighborhoods was officially launched in June 2016, and is termed “Sustainable Neighborhoods for WellBeing and Happiness,” with some more details following.

Seeds of Hope: A Partnership with Ramsey Social Justice Foundation, Arizona State University, New Course, and Habitat for Humanity Guatemala

From Director of International Resource Development, Guatemala, Steven J. Cook, regarding Seeds of Hope, “the needs of these communities are so great and diverse, and we here at Habitat Guatemala are encouraged to be working with partners such as yourselves to work with families in need and assist them in improving their living conditions.” Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.05.12 AM

From Roger Neuhaus, Chief Development Officer of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona, regarding Seeds of Hope: “This relationship makes the world smaller.” 1000 1001 image2

Pictured above: Led by Señora Pinillos, wife of Mayor of Santa Lucia, in Community Meeting, following opening prayers by Señora de Los Oraciones, with Two Sustainable Neighborhoods Team Representatives from Arizona State University, New Course, Habitat Guatemala, Ramsey Social Justice Foundation; followed by listening within Milpas Altas’ Community Meeting, by Steven J. Cook, Director International Development, Habitat Guatemala, Bob Ramsey, Founder, Two Sustainable Neighborhoods (CEO, Ramsey Social Justice Foundation), Dr. Jamie Bechtel, Project Manager, Two Sustainable Neighborhoods, (CEO New Course), Jenny Norton, Social Justice Minister.

UPDATE: July 2016 Progress Report from Santo Domingo, Xenacoj:

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Roger Schweirjohn, Former CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona with RSJF’s Jenny.  Also see Signature events mark Habitat for Humanity’s celebration of World Habitat Day

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RSJF’s Gina Inorio, Bob Ramsey, Marc Chambers, celebrating our 53rd sustainable build in our hometown, Tempe.

IMG_5556 Above is pictured a very successful Sustainable Neighborhoods for Well-Being and Happiness January 2016 Launch and orientation with Habitat for Humanity, ASU, and The Ramsey Foundation.

(Of Habitat for Humanity): Gabriel Jaramillo, Maribel Saucedo, Jason Barlow, (Of Arizona State University and The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation): Jenny, Scott Cloutier, (Of Habitat for Humanity): Lisa Weide, Liz Pabst-Wanless and Roger Neuhaus.

IMG_6024 Pictured above: Under the wonderful guidance of Habitat for Humanity’s Maribel Saucedo and Gabriel Jaramillo, during January 2016, Habitat Staff with Assistant Professor Cloutier’s ASU Classmembers canvassed our Victory Acres neighborhood with 153 successful outreaches.

“This Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action project contributes to an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable and happy future for residents of both Tempe, Arizona, and Guatemala,” said Dr. Scott Cloutier, of The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and Arizona State University, ” To be able to use an essential and elemental sustainability indicator such as happiness to develop vibrant communities that scale across continents demonstrates our Commitment to be a local and global resource.”

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Pictured below:  during our second orientation in April, led magnificently by Habitat’s Maribel Saucedo, with excellent input from Habitat’s Gabriel Jaramillo, Liz Pabst-Wanless, Roger Neuhaus, and Dusty Parsons, receiving training were City of Tempe Neighborhoods Director Shauna Warner, City of Tempe’s Public Information Office Denise Rentschler, Ramsey Foundation’s Neighborhoods Product Coordinator Jake Ireland, and Ramsey Foundation’s Bill Epps (not shown) and Jenny. (Photography, courtesy of Dusty Parsons, Habitat for Humanity).

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CGI AMERICA 2016, ATLANTA, SUSTAINABLE CITIES WORKING SESSION, (LED BY ROSE WINER), DURING ANNOUNCEMENT BY GRACIOUS FACILITATOR STEPHANIE:Image 1 Ramsey Social Justice Foundation’s Gina Inorio with Jenny detailing “SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOODS FOR WELLBEING AND HAPPINESS”.Image 2 Gina and Jenny continued the dialogue as their CGI America colleagues develop ideas into action for Sustainable Cities, within the Working Sessions. FullSizeRender3

President Ruth Ann Norton, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, receiving their Commitment to Action from Atlanta’s Mayor, Honorable Kasim Reed:

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A most magnificent moment in all history, President Carter and President Clinton in conversation at CGI America, Atlanta:Image 5 ———————————-

May we share the photography of the CGI America 2016 Conference, during which time that the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation’s “Sustainable Neighborhoods for Wellbeing and Happiness” Commitment to Action was announced. Clinton Global Initiative Photos

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THE CGI COMMITMENT TO ACTION “SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOODS FOR WELLBEING AND HAPPINESS” LAUNCHED IN JUNE IN VICTORY ACRES, TEMPE, ARIZONA AND IN GUATEMALA: IMG_60832 IMG_6087 IMG_6100IMG_6106

We are honored to be serving alongside three generations of families:image1

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Please See More Photos of the Most Wondrous Families and Volunteers on Mother Earth:

First Working Day in Victory Acres

ON JUNE 23rd, 2016, VICE MAYOR COREY WOODS PRESENTED TO OUR HARDWORKING TEAM (ASU, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, RSJF), OUR CITY’S KINDEST PROCLAMATION:

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(While addressing housing issues in Tempe, Honorable Vice Mayor Woods has most kindly added (it) “could not have succeeded without the Bob Ramseys and Jenny Nortons of the world.”)


Tempe’s final LEED Platinum Certified Habitat Homes to be dedicated this Saturday (read more)

During Earth Day Month, 2017, in collaboration with the City of Tempe, Arizona State University, Habitat for Humanity, The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation, and the residents of Victory Acres, 42 carbon offsetting trees were planted by volunteers from each of the above listed, in our Sustainable Neighborhoods beautiful Esquer Park:

A reporter from The Arizona Republic, Steve Yozwiak, wrote, referring to Jenny’s purchase and use of an electric-powered car during the seventies and eighties, that “State Representative Jenny Norton has always been a little ahead of her time.”

The Phoenix Gazette reporter, Richard de Uriarte, agreed about her environmental activism, writing that “within weeks she has become chief advocate of clean-burning fuels and groundwater recharge.”

“Our commitment isn’t just about creating two sustainable neighborhoods,” explained Jenny, of the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation. “We want to establish a scalable project that can serve as a model for realizing many more sustainable and healthy neighborhoods for our marginalized neighbors, while working to preserve our Mother Earth.”


We send congratulations to Habitat for Humanity for their excellent and successful Spring 2017 International Conference.  Pictured here are attendees from our team partners at  Habitat para La Humanidad Guatemala:  Board of Directors’ President Renaud Cuchet, Development Director Steven J. Cook, with National Director Victor Velasquez.

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The City of Tempe’s Vice Mayors, Honorable Robin Arredondo-Savage and Honorable Lauren Kuby, were early and continuing supporters of Sustainability in our Neighborhoods, partnering with the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and Arizona State University in Victory Acres:

“The City of Tempe is excited to participate in the initiative that will help transform Victory Acres into a more sustainable community,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said regarding the City of Tempe’s Sustainable Neighborhoods partnership with The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and Arizona State University.  From the very start of our mutual mission to provide affordable housing with affordable utility costs, Honorable Mayor Mark Mitchell has continued to represent our Foundation with his kind guidance and meaningful dedication speeches.

(PENDING:  Photos from Vega Family December 1, 2018 Wall Signing here.)

PRESENTING OUR 2018 REPORT:

Sustainable Neighborhoods CGI Commitment to Action Report