By Joseph D. Bryant
Housing Authority of the Birmingham District
Employees of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) continued the personal commitment to residents they began nearly three years ago.
If charity begins at home, then the HABD employees claimed the keys to the house by raising nearly $50,000 in voluntary scholarship contributions in a single day.
Employees recently gathered for their annual benefit for the Naomi H. Truman Scholarship Foundation. This is the third year that the staff has participated in the giving campaign, bringing the total to nearly $140,000 and counting from the employees themselves.
The foundation was created in 2012 to provide scholarships benefiting public housing and Section 8 housing residents. The foundation’s board of directors in 2017 changed the name to honor Truman, the late HABD executive director who created the foundation and served as its first president.
“The goal of the foundation is simple. We want to remove any barriers that prevent our residents from achieving their goals,” said Cardell Davis, foundation president and vice-chairman of the HABD Board of Commissioners. “There is so much talent within our communities and so many examples of men and women working hard each day to improve their lives. We want to do everything we can to wrap our arms around them with moral and tangible support.”
The results of the foundation were clearly illustrated as Adriene Gadsden was honored at the event. Gadsden, a computer science major at Samford University, received a standing ovation after sharing her story of perseverance as a public housing resident who overcame obstacles. Gadsden said HABD programs, particularly the scholarship foundation, were vehicles to help her pursue her academic and career ambitions.
“This really drives to the core of what we are about – giving individuals the tools they need to improve the conditions for themselves and their families,” said HABD president/CEO Michael Lundy. “Your zip code does not determine your destiny.”
Lundy called the scholarship foundation part of the agency’s greater goal to transform lives through education and self-advancement.
In addition to the employee giving campaign, the foundation also benefits from the annual George Pegues Memorial Family Self-Sufficiency Golf Tournament.
“The Naomi Truman Scholarship Foundation is so thankful for the unwavering support of the employees of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District,” Davis said. “Because of the generous donations of the employees of HABD, we can continue to provide scholarship opportunities for our residents of public and subsidized housing, which allows our residents to become self-sufficient.”